The Los Angeles Lakers (22-22) won exactly 50% of their games through the first half of the season, but oddsmakers at DraftKings updated their NBA win totals prop bet with the Lakers listed at 42.5 o/u wins to finish the season.
Russell Westbrook and LeBron James celebrate a Lakers win against the Utah Jazz at Crypto.com Arena to end a three-game losing streak. (Image: Ringo Chiu/AP)
The Lakers winning 43 games or more this season pays -135 in the win totals prop bet, while the Lakers finishing at 42 or lower pays +115.
The Lakers, playing without Anthony Davis (sprained knee), currently occupy the #7 seed in the Western Conference. They ended a three-game losing streak with a big win last night against the Utah Jazz to move to exactly .500.
2020-21 LA Lakers Win Totals
Over 42.5 -135
Under 42.5 +115
Despite the rough first half, the public still thinks the Lakers will come together as a team and play much better as a unit in the second half of the season. If the Lakers exceed their estimated win totals, it won’t be by much.
The Lakers are +1400 odds to win the 2022 NBA Championship, which reflects a steady flow of public money from die-hard fans who are convinced LeBron and the Lakers will run the table in the playoffs to vie for their second championship in the last three seasons.
Magic criticizes, LeBron apologizes
The Lakers looked like fools when they were blown out by 37 points against the Denver Nuggets over the weekend. Nikola Jokic stuffed the stat sheet and nearly secured a triple-double at halftime. The lethargic Lakers gave up in the second half of that game and played like lazy stoners or one of the bottom feeders in the Western Conference, like the Oklahoma City Thunder or Houston Texans.
Like so many of us, Magic Johnson watched the game while scrolling through Twitter. He didn’t like what he saw in the #LakeShow hashtag from the fans who bashed the Lakers for phoning in the second half of the game in Denver.
Magic didn’t mince words when he offered up a critique of his former team.
“Lakers fans can accept being outplayed, but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency,” tweeted Magic. “Owner Jeanie Buss, you deserve better.”
LeBron didn’t comment on the incident. In fact, he stormed out of the locker room and didn’t even talk to the media. Russell Westbrook and Dwight Howard both admonished Magic for not knowing what really goes on behind the scenes, but also agreed that the Lakers gave up.
LeBron eventually apologized to the fan base via social media.
“#LakerNation I apologize and I promise we’ll be better!” tweeted LeBron.
LeBron and Lakers played much better last night. They pulled off a six-point win against the Utah Jazz to end their three-game slide and get back to .500. The Lakers hustled on defense and held the sharp-shooting Jazz to 37% overall, including a gnarly 26% from 3-point range after the Jazz missed 34 treys.
After being blown out by the Nuggets 133-96, we as @Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency. Owner @JeanieBuss, you deserve better.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 16, 2022
(No) trade rumors
The Lakers have been mentioned in numerous trade rumors, but they’re mostly hot air, just like the Santa Ana winds blowing through Southern California.
Still, let’s be honest about the Westbrook dilemma. He’s not a good match for the Lakers or with LeBron. Mostly everyone who pointed this out in the offseason feels good about their initial assessment.
The Lakers took a huge gamble on Westbrook, which didn’t pay off. General manager Rob Pelinka will scramble to find another team that’s dumb enough, or desperate enough, to take Westbrook off their hands. The Cleveland Cavaliers need a point guard and so do the New York Knicks, but the Cavs aren’t keen on doing the Lakers any favors, especially after LeBron ditched them a second time when he bolted for Hollywood three seasons ago.
The Lakers would like to bring Jerami Grant or Myles Turner to the team, but they don’t have much to offer in return. It doesn’t take a forensic accountant to understand that the Lakers are stocked with a couple of max-contract players and veteran minimums.
Pelinka and the Lakers will most likely stand pat and hope that Davis returns to the lineup sooner than later. At the very least, if the Lakers fizzle out in the second half of the season, they can scapegoat Westbrook and then work extra hard in the offseason to find him a suitable home.