The Los Angeles Lakers have essentially listed LeBron James and Anthony Davis as questionable on the team's initial injury report ahead of every game this season (on the possibility of giving one or both of the superstars a night of rest. The Lakers haven't given LeBron a game off yet and Davis has missed two because of a legitimate injury, but don't be shocked if LeBron and/or Davis sit Thursday in Detroit (both questionable again) with the Lakers currently as 9.5-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds. Blake Griffin will be in the lineup for the Pistons. Update: Davis is sitting (still no word on James) and the spread is down to -6.
This is simply my opinion, but Thursday sets up well for a rest game. Why? The Lakers played a hard-fought matchup in Philadelphia on Wednesday night in losing 107-106 to end their 10-game road winning streak to open the year. Coach Frank Vogel seemed to give up on winning with about six minutes left and his team down 14 as he brought LeBron to the bench.
However, the Lakers rallied and James re-entered the game. He ended up playing 39 minutes and Davis 35. On the season, James is averaging 33 minutes and Davis 32.8. Vogel may think he can beat the lousy Pistons, who are 4-14 overall, without one of his stars. Back when fans were allowed, James would insist on playing so as to not have the paying customers in cities he only visits once miss out on seeing him, but that's not a problem these days.
There's also the fact the Lakers have a signature game Saturday in Boston against the arch-rival Celtics, the first Saturday night ABC national game of the season. LeBron may want extra rest for that instead of playing a fourth road game in six nights as Saturday would be.
Detroit was a 122-107 loser in Cleveland on Wednesday without Griffin, who was rested in the front end of a back-to-back. Thus, the former All-Star will play Thursday. He's having an awful season, averaging 12.3 points and 6.2 rebounds. Griffin hasn't even dunked once this year.
It is possible Derrick Rose sits Thursday because he did play Wednesday and had 13 points in 19 minutes; Rose had missed the past two games with a knee injury. Detroit turned it over a whopping 22 times in the loss to Cleveland.
The Pistons have won four straight at home vs. the Lakers and covered the spread in each. Detroit is 9-6-1 ATS as an underdog this season.
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