The Los Angeles Lakers (35-23) are kicking off a four-game road trip with back-to-back games against the Dallas Mavericks (31-26) as the first game of the pair will tip off Thursday at 9:30p.m. ET. The Lakers are fresh off a three-game home stand where they lost to the Celtics, won against the Jazz in overtime, then lost the second game against the Jazz by a score of 111-97. They’ve gone 5-5 in their last 10, still trying to stay afloat while they await the imminent return of LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (calf) who have both been out long-term.
Fortunately for the Lakers, Davis is expected to make his return to the floor tonight after missing 30 consecutive games. Coach Frank Vogel said that he would be limited to 15 minutes in at least his first two games back, so his impact could be minimal on the court until he eases back into full-game fitness.
Pick ATS: Lakers +3.5
With the return of Davis, the Lakers will be fired up and ready to get back to their league-best defense that they’ve lost since the absence of AD and LeBron. While Davis’ time on the court will be extremely limited, the Lakers have found a way to bank some wins as they’ve basically been trading off wins and losses every other game. The last time they strung together more than one win was at the end of March when they beat the Cavs 100-86, following that up by squeaking out a 96-93 win over the Magic. Davis’ presence on the court should bring some renewed confidence as they go up against a weak Dallas defense.
Luka Doncic has been an offensive monster for the Mavs lately as he hasn’t scored less than 22 in his last 10 games. He just put in 30 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists against the Pistons on Wednesday, and recently logged a staggering 19 assists last week against the Knicks. Unfortunately for Dallas, if he’s the only one scoring significant points, they’ll have a hard time securing a win. They’ll have to see a good performance from guys like Kristaps Porzingis and Dorian Finney-Smith to supplement Doncic’s offensive contribution. Expect the Lakers to cover the spread in this one especially with Davis back in uniform tonight.
Player Prop: N/A — player props aren’t in for this game yet.
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