Here are The Game Day’s Lakers vs Warriors prediction and bets for the 2021 NBA Playoffs, including our Los Angeles-Golden State Play-In Game preview, highlighting LeBron James vs Steph Curry.
Check out our 2021 NBA Championship Winner Odds & Bet Picks.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State Warriors Prediction: 2021 NBA Play-In Game Bet Tips & Pick
Los Angeles Lakers 2020-2021 Recap
After finishing first in the NBA Western Conference and winning the NBA Finals last year, the Lakers fell back to earth a bit this year. Their record slipped from 52-19 to 42-30, as LeBron James was sidelined for most of the second half with an ankle injury. Los Angeles was 30-15 with him on the court, but slumped to 12-15 without him and missed clinching a guaranteed playoff berth by one game.
James is back for the postseason, however, and ready to resume his quest for a fifth NBA title. The Lakers shouldn’t have to worry about their 36-year-old superstar wearing down, either, after playing the fewest regular-season games of his career.
That ankle looking just fine👀 #LakeShow
— The Game Day Hoops (@TheGameDayHoops) May 17, 2021
Golden State Warriors 2020-2021 Recap
The Warriors were also bit by the injury bug, losing Klay Thompson (torn Achilles) for the second year in a row. That put much of the offensive burden on Stephen Curry, who responded with perhaps the best statistical season of his career. The NBA’s leading scorer carried Golden State to a 39-33 record, drawing comparisons to mid-2000s Kobe Bryant due to his lack of supporting talent.
Curry wasn’t entirely a one-man band, however, as he did get some help from Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre, and Draymond Green. Head coach Steve Kerr also deserves credit for guiding the Warriors back to contention after finishing last in the Western Conference the previous year.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State Warriors Matchup
After squaring off in four straight NBA Finals from 2015-2018, James and Curry are set to clash again. Curry is always capable of winning a game by himself if he gets hot, and James remains a force of nature even at this stage of his career. Given how reliant both teams have been on their superstars this year, whoever has the better game for the LeBron vs Steph play-in will likely come out on top.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State Warriors Prediction
- Los Angeles Lakers 104, Golden State Warriors 96
Curry’s heroics aside, the Lakers are the better team. They had the second-best record in the Western Conference before James went down, and still nearly secured a postseason berth anyways despite losing him for a good chunk of the season. Los Angeles ranked first in Defensive Rating and allowed the second-fewest points per game this season, so Curry and co. will have their work cut out for them on offense.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State Warriors Bet Pick
Lakers To Win 2021 NBA Play-In Game (-275)
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It’ll be close, but James and the Lakers will probably prevail. Their elite defense should force the ball out of Curry’s hands and deny him open looks, limiting his chances of a monster game. The Warriors have had more success in their previous playoff matchups against James, but look for him to get the W here.