Hawks vs. Lakers: The best player prop bets for Jan. 7
The Los Angeles Lakers will try to extend their three-game winning streak when they host the Atlanta Hawks this evening at The Crypt.
LA’s latest victory was a thrilling 122-114 come-from-behind affair against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. The Lakers trailed by seven points with eight minutes remaining, but LeBron James and Malik Monk combined for 25 points in the final frame to put Los Angeles on top. It was the Lakers’ fourth win in five games as the team has fully embraced a sleeker, small-ball approach in the absence of All-NBA big man Anthony Davis.
Atlanta also slipped by Sacramento on Wednesday, 108-102, but that win was something of an aberration. The Hawks have lost six of their last 10 games, and have been struggling without leading scorer Trae Young, who has been dealing with a lower back contusion, and wings John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who have been in the league’s health and safety protocols.
Sat, January 8 2022, 3:00 AM
We’ve examined tonight's matchup between the Hawks and Lakers closely, and have the three best player prop bets below.
LeBron James Over/Under 2.5 3-point field goals made
Most mere mortals tend to slow down when they hit 37-year-old. Their Joints swell, their reflexes become less keen, and their metabolism grinds to a screeching halt. Not so for LeBron James. The four-time MVP has averaged 33.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game since celebrating his 37th birthday on Dec. 30.
Part of the reason for his high-level of production is the $1.5 million investment King James makes on his body ever year, but a bigger part of it is because the Lakers are now using him as their small-ball five. Removing dead weight like DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard from the floor has opened up innumerable driving lanes, allowing players like Russell Westbrook and Avery Bradley to feast at the rim while LeBron draws rival centers 25 feet away from the basket.
That may not have been a good thing earlier in his career, but James has become something of a deadeye shooter in his 19th season. The Lakers star is making a career-high three 3-pointers per game, and has nailed three treys or more in each of his last six outings. That includes a ludicrous 8-for-14 performance from deep against the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 29.
The basket looks like a hula hoop to LeBron these days, so sit back and enjoy the show.
Malik Monk Over/Under 16.5 points
Another key to the Lakers’ recent hot streak has been the stellar play of Malik Monk, who has averaged 20.8 points on 55% shooting from the floor and 46% from deep since being inserted into the starting line-up on Dec. 28. The Kentucky product has taken full advantage of the gravity created by LeBron and is launching uncontested catch-and-shoot jumpers rather than the circus shots he favored earlier in his career.
Monk should have another solid night against Atlanta’s leaky D. The Hawks have the league’s fifth-worst defensive rating and are in the bottom-third in points surrendered to opposing shooting guards (23.71). "Lik" will eventually come back to Earth, but it won’t be this evening.
Russell Westbrook Over/Under 0.5 3-point field goals made
One of the many advantages of having LeBron play center is that it's allowed Westbrook to revert to the best version of himself. With James opening lanes, the nine-time All-Star has gotten back to attacking the tin at a million miles an hour rather than jacking up ill-advised 3-pointers.
In fact, Westbrook is attempting just 3.6 3-pointers per game this season. That's his lowest total since his fourth year in the league, and it's been a blessing for the Lakers since he can't hit the broadside of a barn. For all of his many talents, "Mr. Triple-Double" is just a lifetime 30% shooter from deep, and he's failed to make a 3-pointer in 14 games this season, including each of his last three.
The Lakers don't need Westbrook to be a 3-point shooter, and after 14 years in the league, he seems to finally understand that. Take the Under tonight, as Westbrook will continue to do most of his damage in the paint.