Los Angeles Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets Prediction: Will the Nets Play Spoiler on Christmas in Staples Center?

Both metropolitan teams are in action, although they're in very different places at the moment.
Jonathan Macri |
Sat, December 25, 11:00 AM EST | 5 min read
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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets Prediction: Will the Nets Play Spoiler on Christmas in Staples Center?

When: Saturday, December 25, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: ABC/ESPN

Spread: Lakers -1.5

Total: 224

Click Here For Lakers vs Nets Odds

Lakers. Nets Prediction

What the NBA anticipated as a Finals preview has become anything but, thanks in part to the number of players spending this game on the sideline, but also simply because the Lakers just aren’t that good.

Before we get to them though, we start with the first place Brooklyn Nets, who are a game and a half up on the next closest East team but also don’t quite have the makeup of a contender. Even with a 5th ranked defense, their 13th ranked offense has been far worse than anyone could have envisioned before the season. Kyrie Irving’s absence has been an obvious factor, but really, this has been Kevin Durant putting on a show without much help. Harden’s numbers are impressive but his impact has been muted compared to what we’ve come to expect over the last decade.

Now, they’ll be without Durant for the fourth time this season. The previous three games have come against bottom dwellers, and even with the lowly completion, the results haven’t been pretty: a 10-point loss in Houston and then a split against the Magic, with both a two-point win and a seven-point loss coming at home. We probably shouldn’t be surprised; the nets have been outscored by nearly five points per 100 possessions without Durant on the court this season.

They’ll be without him, plus rotation players LaMarcus Aldridge and Cam Thomas, but they will still have James Harden, who hasn’t played since December 10. The on off numbers for Harden continue to indicate a player who is still feeling his way, as he’s a negative just as often as he’s been a positive over the last eight games.

All of the above would seem to point to an easy take for LA, but that would ignore just how poorly they’ve played – and also who they’re missing. Yes, they still have LeBron James, but are missing Anthony Davis and most of their shooting, with just Wayne Ellington, Carmelo Anthony and Talen Horton Tucker serving as the healthy rotation wings.

Even throwing in Russell Westbrook and their centers, this is simply not a good team. They’ve been without AD for the last three and a half games and not coincidentally have lost four in a row, incluing the last two by a combined 46 points to the Suns and Spurs at home. LeBron has played in every one of these contests and it hasn’t made a difference.

There isn’t a team playing in this game that you feel great about right now, but Brooklyn is the more whole of the two teams and they’re getting point after not having played in a week. They’re the safer bet.

Lakers vs. Nets Pick

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New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks Prediction

When: 12:00 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

Knicks vs Hawks Odds

At some point, we may just have to accept the fact that this isn’t the Knicks year.

Have they been hit hard by protocols? Yes. Will they be getting some pieces back in this game, most notably RJ Barrett, and possibly Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes, depending on how they look pregame? Yes. Is Kemba Walker coming off his best game in years, with 44 points on 27 shots to go with eight assists, nine rebounds and not a single turnover? Yes. Are they playing an incredibly undermanned Hawks team missing Trae Young, Clint Capela and several other rotation players? Yes. Most of all, do they desperately need a win? Very, very much yes.

And even considering all of that, there’s just no way to feel confident taking the Knicks right now, not coming off a loss to the Bradley Beal-less Wizards at MSG, and not with the worst home margin against the spread in the NBA. There is something off with this team, and it starts with their inability to defend even a remotely competent NBA offense. They have dropped six of seven against the spread at home, with their only over coming against the lowliest of lowly opponents, the Detroit Pistons.

Until further notice, New York should be faded, especially at home. They might win, but the bet here is that it’ll be closer than it should. Grab the points on the road.

Knicks vs. Hawks Pick

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Jonathan Macri
@JCMacriNBA

Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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