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NBA 2018-19: Los Angeles Lakers vs Oklahoma City Thunder, Preview and prediction

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927   //    02 Jan 2019, 20:16 IST

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers (21-16) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (23-13), Staples Center

Los Angeles Lakers will host the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a victory against the Sacramento Kings, whereas Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks on Monday in their last encounter.

Let us see how things stand for both teams tonight.


The Los Angeles Lakers' perspective

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors

The Los Angeles Lakers have finally won a game without LeBron James. They will be looking to win another one tonight with James expected to sit out yet again.

Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came alive as he scored a season-high 26 points, including 19 crucial points in the second half.

Brandon Ingram had an excellent all-around game and carried the team very well in the absence of LeBron. Kyle Kuzma too performed admirably as he scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. He also shot four three-pointers in the game.

Lakers will be looking to keep up the winning momentum when they take on the Thunder.


The Oklahoma City Thunder perspective

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
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Oklahoma City Thunder are currently the best defensive team in the NBA and they have won two games of their last three games.

They beat the Dallas Mavericks at home on Monday. Russell Westbrook had a big game with a triple-double, finishing with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Paul George has been on fire in recent games, and he ended with 22 points and four rebounds against the Mavs.

The Thunder team look solid coming into this match and the Lakers will need to pull out all the stops if they are to have a chance.


Injury update

Lakers:

LeBron James (strained left groin)- OUT

Rajon Rondo (right ring finger surgery)- OUT

Michael Beasley (personal reasons)- OUT 

OKC:

Andre Roberson (left patellar tendon)- OUT

Alex Abrines (personal reasons)- OUT


How things might unfold

The Lakers are without LeBron, and they are facing the best defensive team in the NBA right now which means there is only one way this game is going to end.


Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder to beat the Los Angeles Lakers

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