Los Angeles Lakers vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

When: Thursday, January 17th, 9:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TNT | 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES, WWLS 98.1FM OKC / 930AM (ESP)

Los Angeles Lakers (Away)

Head Coach: Luke Walton {All-Time 23-21 | LAL}

The Los Angeles Lakers are in an incredibly dangerous position. With a record of 23-21, the Lakers are tied for eighth with the Utah Jazz and in the lead due to the season series tie-breaker.

In their last ten matches, the Los Angeles Lakers have gone 3-7. While the loss of LeBron James to a groin injury would be devastating to any team, this ten game stretch has proven that there is no suggestion that the team would be capable without his services.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are a team that is deep and capable at every position. Led by two perennial all-stars, the Thunder can create opportunities regardless of which star is on the court. The Lakers will have to zone in defensively if they hope to be able to stop Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder (Home)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 176-112 | OKC}

The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the premier teams in the NBA. With a record of 26-16, they sit comfortable at third in the Western Conference. Led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams, they have built themselves into a true contender despite a recent rough patch.

In the last ten matches, the Oklahoma City Thunder have compiled a record of 5-5. After losing three straight to the Wizards, Wolves, and Spurs, the Thunder are looking to get back on track when the take on the Lakers.

The Lakers are a young and energetic team that can match the pace of the Oklahoma City Thunder. While their team organization is not quite as developed as that of the Thunder, they have the energy and zeal to put on impressive scoring runs to keep them in matches.

What’s At Stake?

Since the inception of their respective franchises, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been able to establish themselves as the more capable club in that time. In 36 meetings all-time, the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the all-time series 22-14.

A loss for the Lakers would be devastating, pulling them out of the Western Conferences top eight and on the outside looking in on the playoff race.

A win for the Thunder would keep them in place at third in the West and give them a game lead on the Portland Trail Blazers who are right on their tail.

Questions to answer

Is it just a matter of time before the Lakers make a move?

Can Abdel Nader keep up his contributions?

We are going to compare the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Lakers are 3-6 without James

LeBron James and Magic Johnson have been very clear about how they intend for this season to go for the franchise. They want to win, they are not interested in losing, and are open to making moves in order to improve their squad.

The Lakers were lucky to bring in Tyson Chandler on a free transfer, but if the Lakers want to shore up their ranks before the playoffs they’ll have to sacrifice some assets. After going 3-6 without James in the lineup, it hasn’t been more clear for the Lakers that they need more assistance.

The Lakers’ top assets are their young pieces. Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart are some of the pieces other teams may find most valuable. But for the Lakers it will be a balancing act to see where they should cash their chips. Go all-in now or bank on the future? Time will tell, but the Lakers need to win now.

Nader scored 18 in his first start

After what was a last minute signing in the offseason, Nader has proven himself to be a valuable piece for the Thunder. Particularly in the time that Alex Abrines has been out of the rotation.

Nader is a very versatile player. He can score off the dribble and is taking 42% of his shots at the rim and 40% of his shots from three. In comparison, Abrines has been out and take 81% of his shots from three-point land.

Nader is stonger and bigger than Abrines, he has also shown a better capacity to play in transition with the Thunder. He may not be the deadeye shooter that Abrines is, but his versatility has shown him to be a great fit for the Thunder. He is making a case for playing time and a role over Abrines when the Spaniard comes back.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

F LeBron James – Out (Groin Strain) – The Lakers announced that James is making progress and the next update on his groin injury will be provided on Jan. 16.

G Rajon Rondo – Out (Right Finger Sprain) – The Los Angeles Lakers announced G Rajon Rondo will miss 4-5 weeks after undergoing surgery on his right ring finger.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

G Alex Abrines – Out (Personal) – Head coach Billy Donovan said he does not have any timetable for Abrines’ return, according to Brett Dawson of The Athletic.

C Nerlens Noel – Out (Concussion) – Noel is in concussion protocol and there is not yet a timetable for his return.

G-F Andre Roberson – Out (Knee) – Roberson suffered a setback in his recovery and will be re-evaluated in six weeks, according to Royce Young of ESPN.

Head-to-Head: Kyle Kuzma vs Steven Adams

Kyle Kuzma

Small/Power Forward | 6-9, 220lb (206cm, 99kg) | Utah | Exp. 1 Year

18.8 PPG | 2.4 APG | 5.9 RPG | 0.6 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .464 FG% | .299 3P%

Steven Adams

Center | 7-0, 265lb (213cm, 120kg) | Pittsburgh | Exp. 5 Years

15.4 PPG | 1.7 APG | 10.1 RPG | 1.5 SPG | 0.8 BPG | 1.5 TOV | 601. FG% | .000 3P%

Kyle Kuzma and Steven Adams represent two side of the NBA’s front court positions. One a power player on the inside, the other a threat from the perimeter, each team depends on their unique skill sets to contribute to their teams success.

Kyle Kuzma has been one of the lone bright spots for the Lakers this season. A powerful scoring force, he has been dependable when the Lakers have lacked the ability to generate a team-oriented offence. His shooting percentages are down but when he gets hot he is difficult to stop.

Steven Adams, likely one of the NBA’s strongest players, is the NBA’s premier force in the middle. He does not play a glamorous role for the Thunder. Setting hard screens and rolling to the basket are not the plays one begs of from a star player but he is certainly establishing himself as one.

Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Oklahoma City Thunder favoured over the Los Angeles Lakers by 10, with an over/under of 110.