The Los Angeles Lakers are on a three-game winning streak without LeBron James. James is now questionable for tonight’s game. If he’s out, should you back the Lakers?
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns
Tuesday, November 22, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Footprint Center
What You Should Know
The Los Angeles Lakers have won 3 straight games without LeBron James in the lineup. They’re now 5-10 and clearly better without the aging veteran.
James is currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game with the Lakers. His availability will change a lot in this game. But with the Lakers playing so well recently, I’d have to imagine that the Lakers keep James out until he's 100% ready to go.
Meanwhile, the Suns have been without Chris Paul. They’ve also lost 3 of their last 5 games and didn’t even score 100 points in one of those games.
With the Suns listed as heavy favorites, I’m going to assume that James won’t be playing tonight.
Here are our NBA picks and prediction for tonight’s NBA matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers Have Improved
Over the last 3 games, the Lakers have had some of their best offensive outputs. They were in the 78% percentile or better over those 3 wins over the Nets, Pistons, and Spurs. They’re even coming off a game in which they shot an effective field goal percentage of 62.5%.
The Lakers haven’t dominated the offensive glass and turnovers have been a little high recently, but the consistency shooting the ball has been much better with LeBron James out of the lineup.
Against Detroit, the Lakers got to the line at a very high rate. Against the Nets, they had more success on the offensive glass and limited turnovers to 9.1%. They’ve done everything well over the last 3 games. Now, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.
On defense, the Lakers were dominant against the Spurs, allowing just 92 points. They’ve held 2 of their last 3 opponents to shoot below a 49% effective field goal percentage.
Los Angeles still won’t earn a high rate of turnovers, but they were able to hold the Spurs to 19.6% offensive rebounds in their most recent game.
What Happened to the Suns' Defense?
Meanwhile, the Suns have been great offensively over the last 4 games. They’ve shot an effective field goal percentage of at least 55.6% in 3 of those 4 games while earning at least 36.4% of offensive rebounds in 3 of 4 games.
Phoenix has been inconsistent at getting to the foul line, which has hurt their chances of winning some games this year.
The defense has been very bad recently. They’ve allowed at least 123.9 points per 100 possessions in 3 of their last 5 games. The Suns most recently held the Knicks to a 45.5% effective field goal percentage, but prior to that game, the Suns had allowed teams to shoot a 54.8% effective field goal percentage in their previous 4 games.
Phoenix is also all over the place with defensive rebounding. They’ve allowed teams to earn at least 26.7% of offensive rebounds in 4 of 5 games as well.
The Suns are without Chris Paul, but there should be no excuses. They’re not playing like an NBA Championship contender, even at 10-6 on the season.
Lakers vs. Suns: Game Prediction
As long as LeBron James is out of this game, I’m going to have to side with the Under. The Suns have struggled defensively while the Lakers are starting to gel on offense.
Meanwhile, the Suns will be fine on the offensive end. They’ve scored 121.7 points per 100 possessions in each of their last 4 games. It’s mainly the defense for the Suns that’s letting them down.
Again, the Lakers have scored at least 121.4 points per 100 possessions over the last three games and have a higher effective field goal percentage in those three games compared to most games this season.
Neither team is going to earn a ton of takeaways defensively, but we should see a bunch of offensive rebounds from both sides in this game.
Therefore, I’ll back the Over 227 in this matchup. I like how both offenses have performed, but I still believe the defenses will struggle a bit in tonight’s game.
I’m also going to side with the Lakers at +7.5. I don’t think Los Angeles wins on the road. However, they’ll surprise and keep this game close to eventually covering.
Bettors looking to wager on the L.A. Lakers can find reputable California betting sites to do so by using Bookmakers Review.
*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.