There are eight games in the NBA on Sunday and the final fixture takes place in Los Angeles as the Lakers entertain Philadelphia 76ers.
The Sixers played Utah Jazz on Saturday and secured a one-point win in Salt Lake City, while the hosts were last in action on Thursday as they went down in overtime to Western Conference rivals Dallas Mavericks.
Philadelphia are well placed to challenge in the East as they sit in fourth spot, but the Lakers are in desperate need of a few victories as they sit outside the postseason places in the West.
|What||Philadelphia 76ers @ Los Angeles Lakers|
|Where||Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles|
|When||21:30 ET, Sunday January 15th 2023|
|How to watch||NBA League Pass, SPECSN, NBCSP|
|Odds||PHI 76ers -160, LA Lakers +140|
LeBron James has carried the Lakers for much of the season, but he is rated as questionable for Sunday’s game due to an ankle issue.
The 38-year-old has missed two of his team’s last five games with the injury, but he was involved against Dallas, managing 24 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists in 47 minutes and, as they have had a few days between games, it seems likely he will play against Philly.
Unsurprisingly, the Lakers have struggled when James hasn’t been involved and they have lost four of the last five games he has missed.
The four-time MVP isn’t the only concern for the Lakers as fellow star Anthony Davis is definitely missing with a foot injury that has seen him miss the last 14 games, with the Lakers 7-7 during that period.
Veteran Patrick Beverley seems unlikely to play as he is considered a doubt due to a hip problem and illness, while Austin Reeves is missing with a hamstring problem and fellow guard Lonnie Walker is out with a knee problem.
Philadelphia only have a few injury concerns, but forward and regular starter Tobias Harris does seem likely to sit out a second straight game with a knee issue, meaning De'Anthony Melton should start in the frontcourt with PJ Tucker on Sunday.
Reserve forward Georges Niang is rated as questionable with an illness, but may be involved from the bench having featured for 12 minutes against Utah on Saturday.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers could opt to make more use of his bench on Sunday as this is his team’s second game in two days and they still have further games in the West against the LA Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings to come next week before they return to Philadelphia later this month.
Joel Embiid was perhaps unlucky to miss out on the MVP award last season, with Denver’s Nikola Jokic preferred, and he continues to lead the way for the Sixers.
The Cameroonian center is second in scoring in the league with a career-high average of 33.4 points-per-game. Embiid is also averaging a career-high in assists with 4.3, but is down on his rebounding with 9.8 - compared to 11.7 last season.
Embiid has been Philadelphia’s talisman for the last few seasons and he remains their key threat, but James Harden has now become an integral player after an underwhelming start to his Sixers career at the end of last season.
Harden isn’t putting in the same kind of numbers in terms of points that he did during his sensational spell with Houston Rockets, but he has adapted his game and has become a more effective three-point shooter, while averaging 22.2 points-per-game, 11.1 assists and 6.4 rebounds.
Philly head into Sunday’s game in fine form with six wins in their last eight games and they have won their last three in a row on the road.
The Sixers may be going into the clash with little time to rest between games, while the Lakers have the advantage of a few days off, but the visitors will still feel this is an encounter they should be winning.
The Lakers have lost back-to-back games, but managed five wins in a row prior to those setbacks and have been competitive of late and they may be able to at least beat the Spread against the Sixers, particularly if James is involved.
The Lakers can be backed at -110 with a +3.5 handicap in the Point Spread.