LA Lakers at Oklahoma City -10 O/U 216.5
Of all the stats that I’ve researched in the NBA this season, perhaps the single most surprising numbers come from the LA Lakers; more specifically from Lonzo Ball. Rookie point guards aren’t noted for their defense. Rookie ‘one and done’ point guards coming out of college with a single year of playing time under a non-defensive minded head coach, in particular, are not noted for strong defense.
All of which makes the advanced metric stats stand out even more. Ball rates as the #1 defensive point guard in the NBA (of players that average at least 20 minutes per game). And those aren’t just some random, meaningless stats – the results show it very, very clearly.
Since Christmas, with Lonzo Ball on the court, the Lakers are 4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS and 4-1 to the Under. Without Ball on the court, LA is 0-7 SU, 1-6 ATS and 6-1 to the Over. That’s a meaningful dichotomy, not a random one, and Ball is listed as doubtful again this evening, not likely to suit up against Russell Westbrook and company.
The point guard battle is likely to be a problematic matchup for LA again this evening. Russell Westbrook and the Thunder have faced the Lakers once already this season, a game that Lonzo Ball didn’t play. Westbrook carved up Luke Walton’s defense, as the Thunder generated 36 assists on their whopping 56 made baskets, shooting better than 60% from the floor in a 37 point blowout.
LA just hung 114 on Memphis, yet they lost at home by margin, a 123-114 shootout that FLEW over the closing total of 203.5. OKC has cashed three consecutive Unders, helping to keep a lid on the total movement upwards tonight. Look for LA’s defensive woes to be the difference maker here, in a game primed to be a high scoring affair from start to finish.