The Los Angeles Lakers are on the outside looking in on the Western Conference playoff picture heading into the final stretch. It’s been an ugly stretch for them as they’ve dropped six of nine and now they have to face the top team in the NBA. The Lakers, who are coming off a win at home to New Orleans, will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night as they’ll aim to do something they’ve done just twice since Dec. 13: win two games in a row.
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Bucks have put together an impressive 22-9 record on the road so far this season. Milwaukee is 4-0 against the spread in its last four games after scoring more than 125 points in its previous game. The Bucks are also 6-1 against the spread in their last seven road games versus teams with winning records at home.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles is 10-3 against the spread in its last 13 home games versus teams with a road winning percentage above .500. However, the Lakers have struggled on Friday nights, covering just once in their last five Friday contests. It should help that the Bucks have lost four of their last five versus Western Conference opponents.
The Bucks have strung together six straight wins overall and are playing with a sense of urgency as they attempt to lock up the No. 1 seed in the standings. They see that the Golden State Warriors are struggling, dropping four of six, and they have a clear path to the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Bucks have been an unstoppable force all season long but they’ve been even better since the middle of December. The Bucks were 18-9 at one point but they’ve now won 29 of their last 34 games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led the way with 24.7 points per game over the past two weeks. He’s also gotten a ton of help with Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon have teamed up to average a combined 41.0 points per game over that same span. With Nikola Mirotic and Eric Bledsoe chipping in – Bledsoe had a triple-double on Wednesday – the Bucks are a very tough team to beat.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers had dropped four of their previous five games before beating the New Orleans Pelicans 125-119 on Wednesday night. The mood has been sour as LeBron James continues to call out players, the young cast is unhappy that James tried to trade them and head coach Luke Walton looks like he’s on the hot seat.
What should help is home-court advantage. LA has played its best basketball at Staples Center this season, going 18-12 at home compared to 12-19 on the road. Their defence has played better at home, giving up 110.7 points per game (16th) compared to 116.4 (25th) when they are on the road.
LeBron James and company will need that trend to continue in order to get a win here. LeBron has averaged 28.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game over the last two weeks of action. Brandon Ingram has also helped take some of the pressure off of him by averaging 27.8 points and 7.5 rebounds over the same span.