Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons (17-21) head west to Staples Center to take on the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers (22-19) on Wednesday night.
James is set to miss his eighth straight game with a groin injury; the Lakers have gone 2-5 during that stretch to slide to No. 8 in the Western Conference standings. According to Lakers head coach Luke Walton, James will not make the team trip to Utah, and will be re-evaluated on Friday with the hope he can return as early as next week:
The team told reporters that after James originally injured his groin against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas that the injury wasn’t severe, and that the timetable for The King’s return would be 2-5 weeks. While James isn’t clearly 100%, it is obvious the team is taking every precaution by keeping James out for a more extended period of time, especially with all the extra games and mileage the 34-year old has racked up in recent seasons — an unprecedented eight straight NBA Finals trips.
Pistons vs. Lakers Betting Odds & Line
As of now, the Lakers remain a two-point favorite, -130 on the moneyline, and the over/under for Wednesday is set at 216 as of a few hours before game time. According to live tracking at Odds Shark, 60% of the public is on Los Angeles to cover the -2 spread, as well as 67% for the game total to go over.
The Lakers and Pistons have also been two teams that have struggled mightily against the spread in 2018-19. Detroit is 22nd in the NBA against the spread with a 17-20-1 record, while Los Angeles is only three rankings behind at No. 25 with a pedestrian 18-23-0 through the midpoint this season.
Griffin Returns to Hollywood
Griffin heads back to the place he called home from 2009-18 for the first time since being acquired by the Pistons. Griffin plays the Clippers in a few nights, so that will be emotional, and a first for the big man:
“I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve never really been in a situation like that.”
Since the start of December, the Pistons have been no better. Detroit is 4-14 over its past 14 games, including seven losses over the past nine games. The only wins in the Pistons’ nine games have come against the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies, two teams currently out of the playoff picture as of now.
Prediction: Pistons edge Lakers without LeBron 107-104, handing LA its sixth loss in eight games.