|-5 LAL (-115) @ Draftkings|
My 10* "Signature" 37-Club Play is on the LA Lakers at 10:05 ET.
The Los Angeles Lakers won their SEVENTH straight game on Feb 12 and at 21-6, only the 21-5 Utah Jazz owned a better record in the NBA. However, the Lakers are buried in their worst slump of the season as they enter Friday's matchup against the visiting Portland Trail Blazers. Portland won SIX in a row from Feb 9 through Feb 17 but visit Staples Center on a three-game slide, giving them an 18-13 record.
Starting center Nurkic (9.8 & 7.7) was lost to a broken wrist back on Jan 14 and SG McCollum (26.7-3.9-5.0) was lost to a foot injury two days later (last played Jan 16). Lillard (29.6-4.4-8.0) is having another All Star season for Portland, while Trent (15.3) is filing in for McCollum and Kanter (11.7 & 11.4) for Nurkic. Anthony (13.4) has provided consistent scoring off the bench all season.
No one is surprised that LBJ (25.6-8.1-8.0) has played EVERY game this season but since A.D. (22.5 & 8.4) was sidelined with an Achilles problem, the Lakers have lost FIVE of six. It's also important to note that PG Dennis Schroder has been held out the last four games due to COVID-19 protocols (he tested negative but was held out due to contact tracing) but he is available to return on Friday from a seven-day quarantine. Schroder (14.2-3.6-4.3) has made a big impact for LA this season, as has PF Harrell, who hasn't missed a game while averaging13.8 & 6.4 (both were acquired over the offseason). SF Kuzma (11.3 & 6.2) is getting more minutes with A.D. sidelined plus LA does own a deep backcourt in Caldwell-Pope (8.9), Horton-Tucker (6.8), Caruso (5.3) and Matthews (4.9).
The Lakers are currently 22-11, just behind the 23-11 Clippers but now 4 1/2 games back of the streaking Utah Jazz (26-6) in the West. The All Star break is right around the corner, which will give LA a much needed break, This contest is the first of a three-game homestand, before the Lakers play at Sacramento (Mar 3) before the break. I expect a STRONG push here by LBJ and Co. (getting Schroder back will be HUGE) and I'm laying the points tonight.