Lakers vs. Pacers Thursday NBA report, odds: Tyrese Haliburton likely back for Indiana, but L.A. still most-wagered team of night
There are some excellent matchups around the NBA on Thursday, including Memphis at Cleveland, Miami at New York, Golden State at Denver, and the Los Angeles Clippers at Milwaukee. But the team taking the most against the spread action overall at Caesars Sportsbook is the Los Angeles Lakers as they visit Indiana, the only game tipping off in the 7 p.m. ET window. Point guard Tyrese Haliburton -- the Pacers' best player -- is expected to return, but Indiana is a 2-point underdog at Caesars.
As of this writing, the Lakers have taken 75% of the tickets, although Indiana is getting a small lean on the money. The 22-year-old Haliburton, acquired around this time last year from Sacramento, isn't just Indiana's best player but one of the East's top point guards. He's averaging 20.2 points, 10.2 assists (first in league) and 4.0 rebounds. He hasn't played since Jan. 11 due to a sprained left elbow and sprained left knee, but is expected in the lineup barring some sort of pre-game setback.
Indiana is 22-18 with him in the lineup and averaging 116.1 points and 27.0 assists per game on 46.3% shooting. Without him, the team is 2-10 (includes a few games not involving this recent absence) and averaging 112.1 points and 23.9 assists per game on 44.2% shooting. Haliburton leads the NBA in points/assists double-doubles with 22. Since he was acquired last February, Haliburton has appeared in 62 games with the Pacers and recorded 33 double-doubles. There are no props up on Haliburton yet
It's possible that center Daniel Theis could make his season and Pacers debut tonight after recovering from right knee surgery. He was acquired from Boston in the Malcolm Brogdon during the offseason.
The Lakers are listing LeBron James as questionable, but that's nothing new and he'll play considering the team isn't in action again until Saturday at New Orleans. James' first realistic chance to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA' s all-time leading scorer will come next Tuesday vs. Oklahoma City. He's 89 points away from crossing the threshold and is set at over/under 29.5 tonight. Guard Patrick Beverley will be available after sitting out Tuesday's overtime win over the Knicks.
One of the better NBA games this season was Nov. 28's matchup in Los Angeles when the Pacers rallied from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Lakers 116-115. The winning bucket was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from rookie Andrew Nembhard. Haliburton had 24 points and 14 assists. James scored 21 points.
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