If the Los Angeles Lakers miss the playoffs, it’s widely expected that they will fire coach Frank Vogel. It’s not likely the Lakers win Saturday night on national TV as they host one of the NBA title favorites in the Warriors. Here’s a quick look at that game and another marquee matchup Saturday. Check back for NBA odds.
Saturday’s NBA Betting Tips
Philadelphia at Miami, Saturday 8 PM ETThis could easily be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals if they are slotted right in the bracket. The Sixers look nearly invincible since trading for James Harden. As of Friday, the Sixers are outscoring opponents by over 20 points per 100 possessions with a ridiculous offensive rating of 125.3. Harden and Joel Embiid have each scored at least 25 points in all three of the games so far, while Tyrese Maxey is taking advantage of preoccupied defenses to the tune of 24.7 points per game on 64 percent 3-point shooting.
Now, keep in mind that this is the second of a back-to-back for the Sixers after facing Cleveland on Friday so it’s possible that Coach Doc Rivers rests either Embiid or Harden but not likely unless one of them tweaks something on Friday. Harden entered Friday needing four 3-pointers to pass Reggie Miller (2,560) for third all-time in league history.
The Heat haven’t had former All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry at all this week due to personal reasons – he also missed nine games back in January for the same undisclosed reasons. Not clear if Lowry will play here. Lowry is leading the club in assists per game at 7.9 and minutes per contest at 34.3. He’s posting 13.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as well while registering a .425/.356/.853 shooting line.
Miami and Philadelphia have split two meetings this season and play once more on March 21. Their most recent game was on Jan. 15 in Miami, which the Sixers won 109-98. Embiid scored 25 of his 32 points in the second half. Embiid helped the 76ers outscore Miami 66-48 in the final two periods. Tobias Harris added 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Philly didn’t have Harden back then.
Heat leading scorer Jimmy Butler finished with eight points on 1-of-11 shooting. In addition to Butler’s shooting woes, Lowry shot 2 for 11 and Duncan Robinson 1 for 9. It was the first time in Heat history that they had three players, with at least nine shot attempts apiece, shoot that badly in the same game.
The Heat are holding teams to 104.9 points this season, the fifth-lowest in the NBA, and is 20-1 when holding teams under 100. Miami is 22-2 when shooting at least 40 percent from three-point range and a perfect 15-0 when shooting at least 50 percent from the field.
Golden State at LA Lakers, Saturday 8:30 PM ET
This is the ABC prime-time game. Could be a playoff preview if the Lakers even get there – they are going to have to make it through the play-in tournament if Los Angeles even gets to that point. The trade for Russell Westbrook has been an absolute disaster and Anthony Davis isn’t coming back in the regular season.
Before the trade deadline, the Rockets were interested in a potential Westbrook-John Wall swap, but the discussions with L.A. didn’t generate significant traction due to the Lakers’ reluctancy to give up their 2027 first-round pick. Coach Frank Vogel surely will be fired after the season.
Kevon Looney is the only Warrior to play (and start) in every game this season. Looney is among six players to play in every game for their team this season – Deni Avdija (Washington), Saddiq Bey (Detroit), Mikal Bridges (Phoenix), Dwight Powell (Dallas) and Franz Wagner (Orlando) – and among four who have started every game (Bey, Bridges and Wagner).
Golden State ranks second in assists (27.3 apg), seventh in field goal percentage (.466), eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (.359), and 10th in the NBA in scoring (110.9 ppg). Defensively, the Warriors are ranked fourth in opponent scoring (104.0 ppg), second in opponent field goal percentage (.435), second in opponent 3-point field goal percentage (.335), second in steals (9.42 spg), and eighth in rebounding (45.7 rpg).
The Lakers and Warriors have met 427 times in the regular season, where L.A. holds a 257-170 advantage. In the Los Angeles era, the Lakers are 206-130 against the Warriors. However, Golden State leads 2-0 this year. They last played on Feb. 12 and the Dubs won 117-115 at home. Klay Thompson scored 16 of his season-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, and Stephen Curry made a clutch layup with 46 seconds remaining.
LeBron James had 26 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but missed the first free throw after Curry fouled him attempting a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left. He made the second and missed the third intentionally but couldn’t chase down the rebound in time to get a shot off.