No LeBron James makes the Los Angeles Lakers the smart NBA pick at the sportsbooks this Tuesday when they visit the New York Knicks.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at Madison Square Garden
It was only a matter of time before LeBron James snapped. He’s not the player he used to be, especially from a health standpoint, and his Los Angeles Lakers (9-9 SU, 6-12 ATS) look like they’re going to be fighting for a play-in spot in the Western Conference, just like they did last year.
James “inadvertently” elbowed Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart in the face last Sunday, and earned himself a one-game suspension in the process.
That game will be this Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, where the New York Knicks (9-8 SU, 7-10 ATS) are lying in wait.
At press time, the Knicks are 3.5-point favorites on the NBA odds board at MaximBet; if you read our preview for Friday’s game between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics, you know the game plan is to follow L.A. now that LeBron is out of the picture.
Malice at the Palace
The fade/follow dynamic worked to perfection last time. After King James was officially announced as active for that contest, Boston found themselves priced as 1.5-point home dogs on the NBA lines, and they ended up winning 130-108.
No wonder James was feeling salty – even more so after Enes Kanter called him out (via sneaker message) for turning a blind eye to certain geopolitical realities which you can and should read about elsewhere.
Now that James is on the sidelines again, the pendulum has swung in the other direction, and the Lakers are the right NBA pick.
Including their 121-116 win over the Pistons (+7 at home) on Sunday, the Purple and Gold are now 5-3 SU and 1-7 ATS with LeBron in uniform.
This isn’t just a small sample size; this is James no longer playing at an elite level, something we haven’t seen since he was a fresh-faced rookie in 2003-04. The betting market has yet to catch up.
Speaking of not catching up, the Knicks. They’re 4-7 SU and 3-8 ATS in the month of November, cooling off significantly after torching the league during the first 10 days of the 2021-22 campaign.
Even worse, center Mitchell Robinson, who also got whacked in the face over the weekend, has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game with a concussion, and point guard Derrick Rose – arguably their best player – is questionable with a sore right ankle.
One more injury of note: PF Taj Gibson (sore groin) is doubtful for this matchup, although he might be cooked anyway after 12-plus years in the NBA, most of those with Tom Thibodeau as his head coach.
With the Lakers recently welcoming Wayne Ellington and Talen Horton-Tucker back to the lineup, they’re in good shape to take advantage of New York, even without that James guy on their team.
NBA Pick: Lakers +3.5 (–105) at MaximBet