By Charles Jay
The Golden State Warriors have clinched the best record in the NBA, which gives them home court advantage throughout the playoffs. However, there is still some unfinished business as they line up for the regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers, with the action scheduled to begin at 10:35 PM ET at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. You know, BetDNA customers will have the opportunity to place wagers on this game as it is happening, as they take advantage of the live betting software that makes the experience more special.
The Lakers have a record of 26-55 straight-up on the season, but surprisingly, they come into this game on a five-game winning streak, and they have moved their pointspread record up to 37-42-2. The latest victory came on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, who were admittedly playing without Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins in the game. In their last appearance, the Warriors had their 14-game winning streak halted by the Utah Jazz, although they were giving sharpshooter Klay Thompson a rest.
Golden State is 66-15 straight-up and 39-39-3 ATS, and they have won eight consecutive meetings with the Lakers in Oakland, outscoring them by an average of 22 points per game.
In the basketball betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetDNA, Golden State is the 13.-digit favorite, with a total of 222.5 points.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr has put some of his key players into "rest" mode, but he has done it in a layered way. Thompson sat out against Utah, and now Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala will ride the pines for the season finale. According to Kerr, "if the game is meaningless, then so is Draymond."
But there is an objective on the part of Golden State in this game. That is to continue integrating Kevin Durant into the lineup. Remember that Durant suffered a knee injury and had to sit out 19 games. At the start of his absence, the Warriors went into a mini-slump that included three straight defeats, and the San Antonio Spurs actually surpassed them for the best record in the West. But then the Warriors gathered some momentum and came on with that monster winning streak. Now it's a matter of Durant and Steph Curry, more than anything else, getting back into sync again. And there may be some work yet to go for Durant in that regard; he has been back for two games, scoring 16 points and both of them, but he has been 0-9 from three-point range. So BetDNA patrons are probably the best advised to look upon this game as something carrying a certain amount of significance for the Warriors.
For the Lakers, this game has less in the way of implications, even though they would love to go into the off-season on a six-game winning streak. They no longer have a chance to have the worst record in the Western Conference, because their victories have put them past the Phoenix Suns, so as it stands right now, they have a 53% chance of their selection in the lottery being #4 or lower. And if that is the case, the Philadelphia 76ers will get that draft pick. It happened like this – when the Lakers traded for Steve Nash, almost five years ago, the Phoenix Suns got their pick for this season, but only if it wasn't one of the top three. Then Phoenix traded to Philadelphia a couple of years later. So Lakers might have lost by winning.
But they have to be encouraged by the way their young players have finished things off, not to mention the way a veteran may be closing out his career. Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, who might be playing his last game in the NBA on Wednesday, had 18 points against New Orleans on Wednesday. D'Angelo Russell, the starting point guard, was sitting out that game as he dealt with family arrangements after the death of his grandmother, and he is also expected to be out of action for this one. One of the players who will be trying to pick up the slack is Jordan Clarkson, who has averaged 16 points over his last fifteen games. But defense remains a problem, as the Lakers have surrendered 49% or better from the field in four of their last six games, while Golden State has shot 50% of higher in seven of its last nine. If this game means anything to the Warriors, the Lakers will not have enough firepower to contend. So we lay the points.
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