Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Pick
The Oklahoma City Thunder (44-33) will take on the Los Angeles Lakers (35-42) on Tuesday night in what should be a tune-up game before the playoffs for OKC. The Lakers are depleted up and down their entire roster. Youngsters Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart had already been ruled out for the rest of the season, and now the recent news of LeBron James sitting out the remainder of the season. The Thunder are -7 in this game over the Lakers.
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Lakers Finishing Strong
The Lakers are playing well of late, winning four of their last five games. They spoiled the Hornets chances of reaching the postseason after defeating Charlotte 129-115 on Friday. On Sunday, the Lakers went on the road and dominated the Pelicans 130-102. New Orleans has a depleted roster like the Lakers, and the Pelicans need all the help they can get to obtain a top pick in the draft, especially if they move on from Anthony Davis.
Alex Caruso scored a career-high 23 points in just his 20th NBA game of the season in Sunday’s win over the Pelicans.
"With Alex, usually what he does is just play hard. He sacrifices his body, and by the end of the game, he's got a couple bruises and whatnot," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "So when you see him hitting pull-up 3s, I think as a teammate you get a little extra excited."
JaVale McGee had 23 points, and 16 rebounds, and former Pelican Rajon Rondo added 24 points and 12 assists for Los Angeles in a game missing both teams' biggest stars: the Lakers' LeBron James and the Pelicans' Anthony Davis.
Former Laker Julius Randle scored 17 points for New Orleans in 23 minutes before leaving the game to have an X-ray on his left index finger, which the team said came back negative.
Thunder Looking to Figure It Out
Oklahoma City has won just three out of their last 10 games, as they seek to get back on track before the playoffs begin. Sunday’s 106-103 loss to the Mavericks made it back-to-back losses for the Thunder, and it stings a little more considering Dallas was playing without Luka Doncic.
Trey Burke had 25 points and eight assists, Dwight Powell scored the winning basket on a dunk with 21 seconds left, and Dallas stunned the Thunder.
Russell Westbrook had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his 30th triple-double of the season and Paul George had 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, who had sealed a Western Conference playoff spot Saturday when the Sacramento Kings lost. But Oklahoma City has struggled since the All-Star break, going 7-13.
Asked what mood of the Thunder is, George said, “That’s among this locker room.”
One explanation for this Thunder’s woes is their shooting struggles. They hit 38.8 percent from the field and 25.6 percent (11 of 43) from 3-point range against Dallas, which hit 16 of 44 3-point attempts (36.4 percent).
“We’re not shooting as well,” George said. “The ball is not going in at the high clip that we’ve been shooting it. … The fact of the matter is we’re still playing past April 10. These games (are) just to fine-tune. We’re not even looking toward matchups. It’s going to be a battle regardless of who we play. We just want to play the right way going down the stretch.”
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Lakers at Thunder NBA Prediction 04/02/2019
Look for Oklahoma City to sense some urgency and come out on top here. The Thunder win the game, and improve their playoff seeding, which they need to hope avoids the Warriors in the first round.