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ESPN Game Previews: Battle of the big men as Cleveland faces Philly

Pelicans and Lakers look to propel themselves in positive direction heading into the All-Star break

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Philadelphia 76ers v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Eastern Conference pecking order appears to be Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks at the top, and everyone else fighting for the right to challenge them. The two most likely contenders for the third-best team in the East square off tonight as the supersized Cleveland Cavaliers face Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Currently, the Sixers find themselves one game up on the Cavs. It should be a great battle between Embiid’s all-around supremacy against the defensive one-two punch of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.

Time is running out for the Los Angeles Lakers, but they have a new-look lineup, and an all new bench. After a flurry of trades that saw them add Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Davon Reed and Mo Bomba, this is not the Lakers you are used to seeing. Unfortunately, they have a lot of ground to make up. They find themselves 13th in the West and 2.5 games back from the final play-in spot held by the Utah Jazz, and 4.5 back from the sixth-ranked Mavericks.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Game Vitals

When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Watch: ESPN
Odds: Sixers +1.5

Projected Lineups

Cleveland Cavaliers (38-22)

Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen

Philadelphia 76ers (37-19)

James Harden, DeAnthony Melton, Tobias Harris, PJ Tucker, Joel Embiid

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Game Vitals

When: 10 p.m. ET
Where: Arena, Los Angeles, California
Watch: ESPN
Odds: Pelicans +4

Projected Lineups

New Orleans Pelicans (30-28)

CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Trey Murphy, Herbert Jones, Jonas Valanciunas

Los Angeles Lakers (26-32)

Dennis Schroder, DeAngelo Russell, LeBron James, Rui Hachimura, Anthony Davis

DraftKings Odds

If I’m looking at this evening’s matchup between the Lakers and the Pelicans, I’m not seeing much defense. These are teams still figuring things out, they both are limping into the All-Star break, and they both have plenty of reasons to rack up points in an effort to reassert themselves in some cases (LeBron, Davis,) or to exact revenge against a former team (Ingram). For that reason, I am intrigued by the DraftKings odds today showing the the parlay of the Pelicans moneyline (+150) combined with combined points and rebounds of 40+ for both LeBron James and Brandon Ingram, which is currently sitting at +1900. What’s the point of betting if you can’t bet big?

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