The Los Angeles Lakers have problems.
With 6.2 seconds left in overtime last night, LeBron James took the ball down the floor, down three points. The second he reached the Staples Center logo he lifted and fired a brick that clanked off the iron and into the hands of Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma’s desperation 3-point attempt was off target, and the Lakers dropped their third straight game -- and fell to 1-4 SU and ATS over their last five games.
The problems run deeper for the Lakers, though. Since Jan. 25, Los Angeles is 9-6 SU/4-11 ATS with the 22nd-ranked offense in the league (109.3). Last night, the Lakers shot 15-of-43 from deep and over this 15-game slide, they are hitting a league-worst 30.9 percent of their 3-point attempts. Once Dennis Schroder returns from his COVID protocol absence, the Lakers figure to be better offensively, but he will not be back in time for a road game in Utah on Wednesday.
Health is a massive part of what has been hampering Los Angeles, so it is only fair to reserve judgement until this team gets put back together. But Anthony Davis is shooting just 29.8 percent from deep on the season, and Schroder 31.1 percent. When they come back, how much do they really improve the shooting issues that could ultimately hold this team back from winning a title?
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Updated odds for every game can be found here.
The Main Event
Philadelphia 76ers (-2, 223.5) at Toronto Raptors
Look out world, the Raptors are hot and looking more and more like the team that pushed Boston to seven games in the East semifinals last summer. Toronto, coming off of a win over Philadelphia on Sunday, is now 9-3 SU and ATS in its last 12 games with the fifth-best net rating in the league over that stretch (+ 6.6). Their defense, which ranks 12th on the season (111.4), is starting to flex its muscles a well. Over their last four games they have faced Milwaukee twice, Minnesota and Philadelphia, and allowed just 100.8 points every 100 possessions. That defense took advantage of the 76ers’ average offense on Saturday, limiting them to just 1.096 points per possession in the win. The Raptors excelled along the perimeter, allowing the 76ers to shoot just 11-of-36 from deep, and that will likely be a point of emphasis in the rematch today.