The Daily Sweat: LeBron James and the Lakers visit MSG to take on the Knicks

On Monday night, the Los Angeles Lakers were in Brooklyn to play the Nets. The Nets took care of business in a 121-104 victory. Unfortunately for Nets fans and others who paid for tickets, the Lakers decided to hold out LeBron James and Anthony Davis, choosing instead to focus on Tuesday night's game in Manhattan. LeBron and AD are expected back in the lineup, but their Lakers are still 3.5-point road underdogs at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.

The Lakers currently sit in 13th place in the Western Conference, but the conference is so compact that only four games separates 13th place from 4th place in the conference. The Lakers are 2.5-games behind the Utah Jazz, who are currently in 10th place and hold the final play-in spot in the West. Speaking of the play-in tournament, that's currently where the Knicks sit. New York is in seventh place but only one game behind the sixth place Heat. They have a 3.5-game advantage over the Indiana Pacers, who are currently the first team out in the East.

Prior to punting last night's game, the Lakers were actually performing well for bettors. They had covered the spread in four of their last five and six of their last eight games. The same can't be said about the Knicks, who are just 2-5 against the number in their last seven games. The Knicks are just 9-14-2 against the number at home this season, a far cry from their 17-9 mark on the road.

LeBron has repeatedly sung the praises of Madison Square Garden and has called it his favorite arena to play in as a visiting player. With James now 38 years old, it's fair to question how many more trips he will make to MSG. Maybe he puts on a show and can get his Lakers the outright victory as an underdog.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 28: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the second half at TD Garden on January 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Lakers 125-121.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
LeBron James visits Madison Square Garden for the first time in three years on Tuesday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Quiet night in the NBA

Outside of the Lakers' trip to Madison Square Garden, Tuesday's NBA slate features only four other games. The matchups aren't bad. Miami is a 5.5-point underdog in Cleveland while the Clippers are laying 2.5-points on the road in Chicago. Out west, the Denver Nuggets are 6.5-point home favorites against a New Orleans Pelicans team that has lost eight straight games.

Good night of college hoops

It was just two weeks ago that Kansas State pulled off a home victory against Kansas in overtime. It was one of the better games we've seen so far this season in college basketball. The two teams meet again on Tuesday night, this time in Lawrence. Oddsmakers aren't expecting another Kansas State victory, as the Wildcats are 8.5-point road underdogs.

Other good games include TCU hosting West Virginia, with the Mountaineers installed as a 2.5-point road underdog. In the Big Ten, Maryland is a 2.5-point home favorite over Indiana.

NHL slows down as all-star break nears

For most of the NHL, the all-star break has already gotten underway. However, a few teams still have games over the next two days before the league takes the weekend off and highlights its top players.

Three games are on Tuesday's schedule and all three feature rather sizable favorites. The Carolina Hurricanes are -200 home favorites against the Los Angeles Kings. Elsewhere, the Washington Capitals are -210 favorites on the moneyline in Columbus while the Ottawa Senators are laying a large number in Montreal.