As LeBron James closes in on the all-time NBA scoring record, he’s poised to take another big step tonight as the Los Angeles Lakers travel to face a reeling Indiana Pacers team.
The Lakers’ 129-123 overtime win against the Knicks on Tuesday — powered by James’ 28-point triple-double — provided a much-needed boost, but they’re still outside the play-in spots in the West and have gone just 5-5 in their last 10 games.
No one was happier to see the back of January than the Pacers after they ended the month on a miserable 1-10 slide. Tyrese Haliburton’s knee and elbow injuries have been a big reason for that slump, but there’s optimism he’ll be back to face the Lakers here.
Get the lowdown on this matchup with our free Lakers vs Pacers NBA picks and predictions below.
Lakers vs Pacers best odds
Lakers vs Pacers picks and predictions
Heading into tonight, 89 is the magic number for LeBron James as he chases down Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record and he’ll have all eyes on him here — just how he likes it.
But don’t expect that to prompt James to come out and jack up a ton of shots. As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, he’s going to break this record while playing his brand of basketball — and that means filling up the box score with assists and rebounds too.
I love these plus odds for a double-double outing tonight, particularly when James has three paths to getting there. He’s had 10 or more rebounds in two of his last five games and hasn’t recorded fewer than eight rebounds since January 6 — so he’s always in the neighborhood of double digits there.
James’ assist numbers have been more erratic, but he’s reached 11 dimes in two of his last three games. Given the Indiana Pacers’ wobbles over the past few weeks, we should see some offensive fireworks and it’s asking a lot for Buddy Hield, Jalen Smith, or Aaron Nesmith to handle the LeBron assignment.
With Haliburton returning and Myles Turner — fresh off inking a contract extension — sure to be fired up against a team that he was linked with for months, this should be a tight contest. That sets up James to play big minutes and I’m counting on him posting a double-double stat line.
My best bet: LeBron James to record a double-double (+100)
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Lakers vs Pacers spread analysis
Despite an 11-16 road record this season, the Los Angeles Lakers are the slimmest of favorites tonight in Indiana — and it’s a line that factors in Haliburton playing for the first time since January 11.
There have been encouraging signs for the Lakers lately, with Anthony Davis and Lonnie Walker IV back on the court, plus Rui Hachimura settling in as a starter. The controversial late no-call against the Celtics at the weekend got all the headlines but overshadowed what was one of their best performances of the season.
Still, there are reasons for caution as the visitors take on a Pacers team that’s 16-10 at home this season. The Lakers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine road games against teams with a home winning percentage of over. 600, and they’re 2-9 ATS in their last 11 Thursday games.
However, the Pacers have been just as unreliable against the spread during their recent dip in form. They’re 1-8 ATS over their last nine games and were always second-best in their 112-100 loss to the Memphis Grizzles on Sunday. The good news? They’ve had three days off to regroup.
Lakers vs Pacers Over/Under analysis
Haliburton’s return should give the Indiana offense some juice and cut down on needless turnovers, but there are lapses at the other end of the floor that will be concerning Rick Carlisle. The Pacers coughed up 85 first-half points against the Bucks last Friday in one of the lower moments of a bad month.
Even so, the Under has hit in Indiana’s last four home games against a team with a losing road record, and there’s every reason to expect the Lakers to be locked in tonight given the clock is ticking on their climb up the Western Conference standings.
The visitors have got six games after tonight before the All-Star break and they need to start making up ground.
The teams’ earlier meeting this season back in late November came down to Andrew Nembhard’s game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in a 116-115 Pacers win. A similar point total here feels reasonable.
Lakers vs Pacers betting trend to know
The Lakers have trended towards the Under lately when playing on one day’s rest – it’s hit in five of their last six games in that spot. Find more NBA betting trends for Lakers vs. Pacers.
Lakers vs Pacers game info
|Location:||Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN|
|Date:||Thursday, February 2, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Spectrum, Bally Sports Indiana|