KEY POINTS

  • Lakers gun for 12th win in 13 games
  • Nets are moving on from the departure of Kenny Atkinson
  • Lakers are heavy favorites at home

Needless to say, the Los Angeles Lakers are on a league of their own right now. Winners of four straight games and 12 of their last 13, the Lakers are looking more than ready for their first playoff appearance in seven years. But their job in the regular season is not done yet as they look seal the deal at the top of the Western Conference. LeBron James and company will test their engines anew on Tuesday when they host the Brooklyn Nets whose playoff hopes remain on the bubble sitting at the seventh spot in the East with 18 more games left in their schedule.

Los Angeles Lakers

James and the Lakers had arguably their most satisfying last two games of the season. After rolling past the best team in the NBA that clinched a playoff berth, the Lakers stamped their class over their bitter rivals in Los Angeles on Sunday which inevitably took the league by storm. The 35-year-old fortified his MVP case by seemingly shifting to an early playoff mode as he dominated his individual match-ups against perennial superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard. "I prepare myself both in my body and my mind and to endure anything, even at this stage in my career," James said after the Lakers' 112-103 win over the Clippers where he posted 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. "I know what it takes for me to prepare mentally and physically and go out and perform on a high level, and it's my responsibility to put this team in a position to be successful. They look at me as a leader." 

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets are still getting used to a new system following the departure of erstwhile head coach Kenny Atkinson. But they made sure to stick right into business in their first game without their long-time mentor as they defeated the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, 110-107, to notch back-to-back victories. Jacque Vaugh, who is taking over the helm as the interim head tactician for Brooklyn, was commended by Spencer Dinwiddie after his debut win as the scoring guard vowed to be of help to the neophyte coach in his development with the team moving forward. "I think he's gonna do a great job and we're focused on him and also helping him be the best that he can be," Dinwiddie said. 

Odds and Trends

Facing the Lakers is a tough task, but facing them inside their home floor is a whole different story as they can turn the Staples Center instantly into a lion's den. The Lakers are heavily favored in this clash against the Nets with the spread at -11.5 based on the majority of sportsbooks. The total points combined is projected at 223.5.

The Lakers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall and 6-0 in their last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.

The Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog and 5-1 in their last 6 games vs.a team with a winning straight up record.

Over is 6-1 in Nets' last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 5-0 in Lakers' last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.

Under is 6-1-1 in Nets' last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 5-1 in Lakers' last 6 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.

Prediction

Lakers win, 116-102.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James gestures while playing against the Brooklyn Nets on October 10, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China LeBron James Photo: AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL