An old-school rivalry tonight as the Philadelphia 76ers host the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams are not where they want to be this season although the Sixers have really turned it on as of late.
Los Angeles meanwhile is still struggling to find some consistency but are coming off a road win in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
L.A. Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Thursday, January 27, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at Wells Fargo Center
LeBron Still Not Slowing Down
I'll admit that I've accused LeBron James of losing a step in the past few seasons. I've said that because if you watch him play, he really has a hard time breaking guys down one on one off the dribble. When he does, it's usually in the open court where he already has a head of steam.
In reality, he's just figured out other ways to be as efficient as he's always been. Against Brooklyn, LeBron had 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
With Anthony Davis back in the lineup, the ceiling for the Lakers is obviously way different, especially with LeBron playing the way he is. James has scored over 30 points in thirteen of the seventeen games that Davis misses.
Tonight the Lakers come into this game as road underdogs, with the opening line Sixers -2.5. It has been steamed up slightly to Sixers -3 but my official play will be on the total here.
I think the fact that Davis got a game under his belt has had a slight effect on this line. I'm not sure anyone in the league can stop Joel Embiid right now but if anyone can slow him down, Davis would be one of the few players capable.
Sixers Defense Much Improved Recently
The Sixers are 13-4 in their last 17 games which is the 5th best record during that stretch. They've done that with defense which was not the case early on this season. During this good run of play that has seen them vault up the Eastern Conference standings, they've been the 7th most efficient defense in the league.
For an idea of how bad things were, before this 17 game stretch, the Sixers were 20th in the NBA defensively.
That is a far cry from how this team has earned their success over the last few years and something had to change. I do think this defensive run is sustainable for the Sixers and the Lakers are an opponent I think they are equipped to slow down.
There has been a lot of speculation about how Russell Westbrook does not fit with James' style but it's more complicated than that.
The Lakers' offense is simply not efficient right now but it's also difficult to judge without Davis in the lineup. I think tonight, Davis will be matched up with Embiid who for all of his offensive prowess is still also one of the best defensive players in the game.
So Davis will have his hands full on both ends and it's a lot to ask in only your second game back after an extended absence.
My official play is the total to go under 218 points, which is available at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review). The Lakers' offense is the 8th worst in the league in terms of efficiency and I think on the road, they'll fail to score over 108 which has been the case in three out of their last four road games.
In my opinion, the Sixers are capable of holding Los Angeles to under 100 which is why I'm taking the under here with my NBA picks tonight.
NBA Pick: Under 218 (-110) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.