• Lakers host Sixers on Tuesday
  • LeBron James makes a case for another MVP award
  • Shake Milton exploded for the Sixers

LeBron James, inch by inch, is making a case for his fifth NBA Most Valuable Player award. At year 17, the King continues to silence his doubters with his stellar play that has lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference. As the team heads back to California on Tuesday, James will aim to boost his bid with another top-notch performance as the Lakers tussle against a banged-up Philadelphia 76ers at the Staples Center. The visitors will enter the war zone without All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who are dealing with their respective injury bugs. The Lakers, though, are not safe from missing their own All-Star as Anthony Davis is still listed as questionable after missing last Sunday's game in New Orleans.


Sans Davis, James posted his 13th triple-double of the season with 34 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds in the Lakers' 122-114 road win against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, joining Dallas' Luka Doncic at the top of the triple-dub list. The clash against the Sixers is seen as a warm-up for their highly-anticipated showdown against the East and NBA's best Milwaukee Bucks on Friday as James is also set to face Giannis Antetokounmpo - the reigning MVP who stays as the frontrunner to bag the award for a second straight time. The 35-year-old is unperturbed, as he has always been. With 25.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and a league-leading 10.6 assists per night, there's not really much to be concerned about for James as he has also posted at least 30 points in four of his last six games.


Shake Milton came out of nowhere and detonated for a career-high 39 points on seven triples in the Sixers' 136-130 loss to the Clippers on Sunday at the Staples. The individual outburst from Milton did not completely go down the drain despite the loss. Playing less their stars, Philly might defer to Milton again for their second game in LA. The former 54th overall pick has played in 28 games this season and is averaging 8.8 markers per night. His numbers could sustain a meteoric rise while the Sixers' top guns recuperate from injury. It could be a trial-and-error success by coach Brett Brown that is definitely worth trying again.

Odds and Trends

The Lakers are heavy favorites in their return home to Los Angeles, tagged with a -13.5 handicap against the Sixers.

The Lakers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record and 6-1 in their last 7 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.

The 76ers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 5-2 in their last 7 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.

Over is 4-0 in Lakers' last 4 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400 and 4-1 in 76ers' last 5 games following a straight-up loss.

Under is 4-1 in Lakers' last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game and 10-2 in 76ers' last 12 games after allowing more than 125 points in their previous game.


Lakers win, 120-106

Giannis Antetokounmpo LeBron James Bucks Lakers
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers hug following a game at Fiserv Forum on December 19, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Stacy Revere/Getty Images