The Brooklyn Nets (21-9) will travel to take on the Los Angeles Lakers (16-17) on Christmas Day at Crypto.com Arena, with tipoff set for 8:00 p.m. ET. The Nets, currently hit hardest in the league by COVID-19, are coming off a 100-93 loss at home to the Orlando Magic. The Lakers just lost their fourth straight game with a 138-110 result with the San Antonio Spurs at home.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Nets favored by one point in what will surely be a close game. They’re at -115 on the moneyline with the Lakers at -105, and the point total is set at 226.
The absence list is long for both sides, with the Lakers missing Trevor Ariza, Avery Bradley, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, and Austin Reaves, who are all in the league’s health and safety protocols. Anthony Davis (knee) is also sidelined while LeBron James (abdomen) is listed as probable.
The Nets are hit hard as well, with Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Bruce Brown, David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards, Kyrie Irving, James Johnson, Day’Ron Sharpe, and Cam Thomas all currently in COVID-19 protocols. They’ll also be without Joe Harris (ankle) and Nic Claxton (wrist).
Nets vs. Lakers, 8:00 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Lakers +1 (-110)
It’s nearly impossible to predict games like this where both sides are missing so many key players. When it comes down to it, the Nets are missing their leading scorer Kevin Durant, who hasn’t played since December 16th after being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols. It’s a big blow for Brooklyn, as KD hasn’t scored less than 31 in his last four games, averaging 29.7 points per game all season long. James Harden is back in rotation for the Nets after testing out of protocols, so that may be some relief for Steve Nash’s side.
However, the Lakers still have LeBron James and Russell Westbrook who might just be too much for the Nets to contain with such a depleted squad. LeBron put up 36 points and nine rebounds against the Spurs on Thursday, while Westbrook dropped 30 points and grabbed seven boards in the loss. With a game predicted to be as tight as this one, I’m leaning toward the Lakers to win and cover.
Over/Under: Under 226 (-110)
It’s almost a no-brainer picking the under in this contest, given that the Nets are missing the league’s leading scorer in Kevin Durant. They’ve played one game since KD has been out, and they only were able to put up 93 points in the loss to the Magic. They’ve since had several games postponed due to not being able to meet the league-minimum eight available players. Assuming this game still happens, expect it to be low scoring. Take the under.
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