NBA history could be made tonight in Los Angeles as LeBron James is 36 points away from becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer. James and the Lakers will host the Thunder tonight, and we’ll preview the game before going over my best prop play for the action.
All eyes will be on LeBron James tonight, but whether he breaks the record tonight or not, the Lakers need to start putting together more prolonged stretches of winning basketball if they want to make the playoffs. Over their last ten games, the Lakers have gone 5-5 and rank 22nd in the league with a -2.5 NET Rating.
Over their recent ten-game stretch, Los Angeles ranked 19th in defensive efficiency rating, and over their last five games, they’ve allowed 121 or more points to be scored in four of them. Some of the biggest problems on defense have come in transition and on the boards, as they rank 26th in second-chance points allowed per game and 24th in fast break points per game.
The game plan for them tonight is to get the ball in LeBron’s hands as much as possible, but it will also need to be centered around limiting those second-chance points and paint scoring in general. Oklahoma City has gotten 46.1% of their points in the paint over the last ten games, so it will be vital for the Lakers to address that area.
Oklahoma City is also 5-5 over the previous ten games; however, they rank 9th in the league in NET rating in that span. Scoring has not been much of an issue for them recently, as they rank 10th in offensive efficiency rating in that same stretch; instead, their problem is similar to the Lakers in which they struggle on defense.
In the Thunder’s game last night, they allowed 141 points to be scored by a Warriors team without Steph Curry. That marked the third time in the previous four games they allowed 121 or more points in a game.
For my prop play in this game, I’ll be taking Patrick Beverley over 2.5 assists at (-117). The veteran has averaged 2.6 assists per game over his last ten games and has gone over this number in five of his previous six games. Everyone on the team will likely be trying to force-feed LeBron the ball all night, and I think Beverley capitalizes on that in this market.
Oklahoma City is also an ideal match-up for this specific prop, as over the past five games, no team has allowed more assists per game than the Thunder. Opponents are averaging 31.2 a game against OKC, and last night they allowed a total of 43 assists to be doled out.
Beverley has been averaging 28:32 minutes per game over the last ten games, so he has plenty of court time to go over his total. Overall I think the Lakers can get a lot of good looks against the Thunder defense, and Beverley can at least come up with three assists, especially with LeBron having the opportunity to break the record at home.
Patrick Beverley Over 2.5 Assists (-117)