It is not often that a team wins 15 straight games on the road. In fact, it’s only been done by two teams in NBA history, the 1995-96 Utah Jazz (15 games) and the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (16 games).
Well, this year’s version of the Lakers will attempt to join that exclusive club as a 24-3 Los Angeles squad visits the 18-9 Indiana Pacers today (7pm ET on NBA TV).
The Pacers are pretty good on their home court themselves. The squad is 11-3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season. Indiana is thriving this season on a balanced offensive attack and a coordinated defensive effort anchored by shot-blocking center Myles Turner.
Will the Lakers continue to inch closer to an NBA record or will the Pacers halt their streak? Let’s discuss the matchup and then make some LA Lakers vs Indiana Pacers predictions for our betting picks at the end of this NBA game preview.
Can Myles Turner Add Some Offense to His Rim Protection?
Turner just hasn’t been the same on offense for the Pacers since an ankle sprain at the end of October. He returned to the lineup in mid-November and has averaged just 10 points per game while shooting below 40 percent from the field in that stretch.
The Pacers’ three most recent losses have all had a common theme: Turner has been terrible on offense. In those three games, Turner has combined for a measly 12 points in 89 minutes on 4-of-25 shooting from the field.
Los Angeles has the best big man in the league in its frontcourt with Anthony Davis, assuming he plays. Turner will not only need to avoid a bad performance, but he will need to submit a very good offensive performance if the Pacers are to win this game against a team that hasn’t lost a road game in two months.
Which Team’s Spot-Up Shooters Will Hit Better From the Outside?
Both of these teams are very good but they share a relative weakness: three-point shooting. Neither team is bad at outside shooting, but their volume is well below league average and opponents aren’t necessarily worried about huge three-point barrages from either team.
It is very unlikely that either of these teams will drop a 20-three performance because both teams’ high-usage options are not high-volume outside shooters. I’m looking at how the Danny Greens, Avery Bradleys and Kentavious Caldwell-Popes for the Lakers and the Jeremy Lambs, Doug McDermotts, Justin Holidays and Aaron Holidays of the Pacers shoot from three-point range.
The additional scoring punch from these shooting role players will be key to lessening the burden for the stars and creating space for the slashing and post-ups of said stars.
Will the Pacers Keep Their Turnovers Limited?
The Pacers are not a high-turnover team. They are solidly above-average in terms of their turnover rate, which calculates their ability to protect the ball on a per-possession basis. The Lakers are an active defensive team that forces a lot of steals and transition opportunities. The team’s fantastic length and athleticism makes it tough for its opponents when it is careless with the ball.
Monday’s game should be an entertaining matchup between a careful offense (the Pacers) and a chaos-causing defense (the Lakers). Indiana has a definite disadvantage in length and athleticism and will fare poorly if this game turns into an up-and-down affair. The Pacers should aim to make this game a half-court battle, where they can take advantage of their sound execution on both ends of the floor.
Our Betting Preview’s Los Angeles Lakers vs Indiana Pacers Predictions & Picks Verdict
The Lakers have given me no reason to bet against them. They have narrowly escaped their last two road wins, but they shot a measly 17-of-68 (25 percent) from three combined in those games.
I think some regression to the mean is due. The Pacers’ biggest strength (the offense-defense frontcourt of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner) is actually a weakness against the Lakers, who play massive and talented frontcourt pairings that include Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee and LeBron James. These are our Los Angeles Lakers vs Indiana Pacers predictions for this game:
- The Lakers are a 4 or 4.5-point favorite with the best bookies for USA betting. I advise you to bet on LA -4pts @ -110 with Bookmaker or Intertops. They are -4.5pts with Bovada, albeit for odds of -105.
- These two big teams will likely not play a particularly fast pace, especially as they match up with each other with physical play around the basket. You should place your moneyon the under 211 total points @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker, Intertops or BetOnline.