Last week, SportsLine offered odds on whether embattled Lakers coach Frank Vogel would last the season, and yes was a short favorite. At worst, management wasn't going to make a decision on Vogel sticking around until he got All-Star big man Anthony Davis back and if the Lakers continued to struggle, he would be fired. Davis apparently will return Tuesday from his knee injury in a potential NBA Finals preview at the Nets, who are without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Lakers are -2.5 at Caesars Sportsbook. Click here for model picks.
Davis (23.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.0 bpg) is listed as probable for tonight; he was questionable Sunday in Miami but didn't play. The former No. 1 overall pick hasn't seen the court since Dec. 17, and the Lakers are 10-10 overall without him this season. Davis should immediately upgrade the Los Angeles defense, which has cratered without him – expect some sort of minutes limit tonight. The Lakers' defensive rating is 108.0 with Davis on the court this year and 110.4 without.
"Whenever you get a player like AD back, it definitely changes your team," guard Russell Westbrook said Sunday. "Not just on the offensive side but defensive side. He's able to do things that people can't do at his size. It definitely gives the team a boost to get to see everybody on the floor — hopefully as we move forward towards the tail end of the season."
LeBron James averaged 32.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game over Davis' absence with 13 30-point games and one 40-point game. LeBron is given an Over/Under of 29.5 points tonight and +900 for a triple-double. No Davis Over/Under props yet until he's officially cleared to play.
LA is 1-1 on its "Grammy" road trip with a win Friday in Orlando and loss Sunday in Miami; this trip, now that Davis is back, probably decides Vogel's future. The Lakers also visit Philadelphia (Thursday), Charlotte (Friday) and Atlanta (Sunday).
At 23-24, the Lakers are eighth in the West but only two games out of the No. 6 seed and avoiding the play-in tournament. They are given an Over/Under of 42.5 wins with yes making the playoffs at -400 and no +300.
Brooklyn won't get Durant back from his injury for at least a few more weeks and Irving can't play in home games because he's unvaccinated. James Harden will have to carry the load tonight and is +170 for a triple-double. His eight triple-doubles this season are fourth-most in the league.
Harden enters 24 points shy (22,976) of becoming the 32nd player in NBA history to score 23,000 career points. He will become the fourth active player to score 23,000 points, joining LeBron, Carmelo Anthony (also on the Lakers) and Durant. Nets center Nicolas Claxton might play. He has been out since Jan. 10 with a hamstring injury.
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