According to the best NBA betting sites, the Los Angeles Lakers still have the best odds to win the Western Conference and the second-best odds to win the 2021 NBA championship with online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag currently listing them at +185 to win the West and a+325 to repeat as NBA champions.
But while the oddsmakers are still high on the Lakers, All-Star forward Anthony Davis says that his team must start playing with a sense of urgency because there might not even be a chance to defend the title, or even win their conference.
“We control our own destiny. So we have to start playing with a sense of desperation, even though we are in the playoffs as of right now. But we’re not that far off from being in play-in games. So we’ve got to play with a sense of desperation, as well.”
Lakers in Danger of Falling Outside the Top 6
During the first weeks of Davis’s injury, the Lakers hovered in the 4th spot, which would’ve been okay since they would have homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But then came Nikola Jokic and the surging Denver Nuggets who bumped off the Lakers to the 5th seed. Then LeBron James got hurt and the Lakers and Dallas Mavericks are battling tooth and nail for 5th place.
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▪️ DAL, IND, NOP, TOR look to keep pace in Play-In race
Before the start of Thursday’s games, the Lakers stood at 36-26 and just 1.5 games ahead of the 6th place Mavericks. But that’s not it. The 7th seeded Portland Trail Blazers are also just two games off the defending champions and if Los Angeles’ current skid continues, it won’t be a surprise if the Lakers fell out of the Top 6 with still more than enough games for the Mavs and Blazers to overtake them.
The Lakers were supposed to get a breath of fresh air with AD’s return. However, since Davis has returned, Los Angeles has posted a 1-3 record. Overall, they have lost six out of their last 10 games played. The Lakers held the fort without AD, posting an 18-17 mark in the 35 games he missed.
But the injury to LeBron James has added to their woes. The Lakers are just 8-12 without LBJ. With no indication that James is returning soon, Davis and the Lakers must find a way to stay afloat.
Not Much Time
Last week, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel admitted to having some concern that LeBron, AD, and AD2 may not have much time on the floor together before the playoffs. Right now, with 10 games left to play for the Purple and Gold, it doesn’t look like they will play a single regular season minute together. But that’s not the big issue really because if you believe the oddsmakers, their top rival for the title has the same dilemma.
The Brooklyn Nets also have a superstar trio leading the team. But like the Lakers, the Nets have found it hard to have Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden together at the same time. Since acquiring Harden, the three of them have played in just a total of seven games together. Harden, is still out with a hamstring injury and if you believe the Nets, he’s still far from returning to action.
However, the Lakers’ chances of repeating don’t depend solely on the Nets’ struggles. The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns have the Top 2 records in the league and they have a team that has played together all season long. The Clippers have endured injuries but overall, the “other” Los Angeles team is peaking at the right time. The Nuggets lost Jamal Murray but Jokic is having an MVP season. Out East, the Bucks and Sixers are healthy right now and have excellent chemistry. Sure, the Lakers have the tools to repeat as champions. But right now, it may be time to fade them just as they are fading in the team standings.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! ...
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