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NBA: Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Lakers preview

The NBA regular season resumes on Thursday night after the All-Star break and one of the standout ties sees defending champions Golden State Warriors make the trip to Los Angeles Lakers.

Golden State sit in the play-in spots and will be looking to try and force their way into the top six before the playoffs begin to give themselves the best possible chance of mounting a serious title defence.

The Lakers are out of the postseason spots altogether as they sit 13th in the West, but they are still within touching distance of the top 10 and their own playoff hopes aren’t over just yet either.

Golden State are 14/1 to win the championship outright and the Lakers can be backed at 33/1.

WhatGolden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Lakers Arena, Los Angeles
When03:00, Friday 24th February
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, NBA League Pass, Sky Sports Main Event & Arena
OddsGS Warriors 167/100, LA Lakers 25/48

LeBron fit after All-Star scare

The Lakers were left sweating during the All-Star game as star man LeBron James sustained a finger injury and sat out the entire second half, as his Team LeBron went on to lose 184-175 to Team Giannis.

The four-time champion has since confirmed he will be available for Thursday’s match-up with the Dubs, explaining his absence in the second half in Salt Lake City was a precautionary measure.

"I'll be fine," he told reporters after the game. "It's not too much to worry about. For precautionary reasons I just took the rest of the night off."

James is the Lakers’ only injury concern ahead of the clash with Golden State and it seems as if they will have all their stars available – but the visitors have a few issues to contend with.

Curry remains sidelined for Warriors

The Dubs will be without their talisman for a sixth straight game as Stephen Curry is still missing with a knee injury.

Curry had been selected as an All-Star starter himself, but the 34-year-old was unable to line up for the exhibition event as Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox replaced him.

The two-time MVP has returned to the court for non-contact training over the last few days, but as it stands there is still no timetable on his return, meaning Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole will continue as Golden State’s starting backcourt duo in LA on Thursday.

Curry isn’t Golden State’s only absentee, as veteran Andre Iguodala is also unavailable due to a hip injury.

Gary Payton is also out with an abdominal strain as he awaits a second Dubs debut following his switch from Portland Trail Blazers earlier this month, and reserve guard Ryan Rollins is sidelined with a foot issue.

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Struggling giants still in contention

The Lakers are in danger of missing out on the playoffs for a second successive year as they sit way down in 13th place in the West, but the Conference remains tight and they can still force their way into the postseason spots.

They have a 27-32 overall record and are just two games behind Oklahoma City Thunder in the final play-in spot.

A top-six seed and automatic playoff qualification isn’t out of the question either, as they are only three-and-a-half games behind the team who currently occupy sixth place - Dallas Mavericks.

Golden State downed Boston Celtics in the Finals Series last term and over the course of a best-of-seven series they remain a match for any team in the NBA, but they are also struggling to put together a run of wins.

The Dubs are in ninth place with a 29-29 record but they are only a game behind the Mavs.

Both of these teams head into the next phase of the season in mixed form as the Lakers have four defeats in their last six games and Golden State are 3-3 over the same period.

A win for either side would be huge on Thursday as they try and reignite their respective top six pushes, but the Lakers will feel they have the advantage going into Thursday’s game.

Road issues remain for Golden State

Golden State’s key concern this term has been their woeful road form and they have managed just seven wins in 29 games away from their Chase Center home.

With Curry missing, the Dubs look up against it on Thursday as they come up against a direct rival, and the Lakers can take some confidence from a 109-103 victory in San Francisco the last time these teams met earlier this year.

The Lakers are priced at 10/11 to win with a -4.5 handicap in the Point Spread and James is 20/23 to score over 27.5 points.

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