NBA Odds: Sinking Lakers Attempt to Right Ship Against Visiting Spurs
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
By Gordon P. Quinn
When the Los Angeles Lakers picked up their ninth straight win on the first day of April, it was becoming apparent they -- and not the reeling San Antonio Spurs -- had emerged as Western Conference favorites.
Five consecutive losses later, that's a title even Phil Jackson can't endorse.
The Lakers look to snap their longest losing streak in four years tonight against the visiting Spurs, who will try for a fifth straight win that would put them a step closer to ensuring home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs. This encounter figured to be a battle for the top seed in the Western Conference, but San Antonio clinched that last week and the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves hoping to hang on to second when they host the Spurs on Tuesday night.
The Lakers have lost five in a row and could tumble as low as fourth in the West if they lose tonight and again in Sacramento on Wednesday. The Spurs could rest some of their starters, and thus are as much as 6.5-point underdogs to the Lakers.
- Over is 23-8 in San Antonio last 31 overall.
- LA is 2-7 ATS in their last 9 home games.
- Under is 21-6 in the last 27 meetings.
The two-time defending champion Lakers have dropped five consecutive games, their most since losing seven in a row from March 2-15, 2007. Los Angeles is now tied with Dallas for the second seed pending Monday’s results, although it does own the tiebreaker. Both teams lead Oklahoma City by just one game.
San Antonio has little reason to get keyed up for this game, having clinched the top spot in the West. The Spurs lead Chicago (60-20) by one game for the overall best record in the NBA and could still go with a regular rotation for much of the game. The Spurs have won four in a row after a season-worst six-game losing streak. Two more victories would guarantee the Spurs home-court advantage throughout the postseason, though if they lose once and Chicago wins out, it’ll come down to a random draw. With victories in their final two games, the Spurs would match the franchise record of 63 victories set in 2005-06.
San Antonio’s Richard Jefferson is 14 of 23 from 3-point territory the past six games. Tim Duncan has scored a total of just 12 points on 5-of-26 shooting in three games against the Lakers this season and Manu Ginobili is shooting just 28.2 percent against the Lakers, but San Antonio has won two of the three games. Kobe Bryant averages 24.3 points against the Spurs in 51 career games and scored 31 in a 99-83 victory March 6.
The teams meet for the fourth and final time. San Antonio leads the series 2-1. The Spurs are looking to beat Lakers three times in same season for first time since 2005-06.
Although the Spurs would relish at the opportunity to finish ahead of the Bulls, it is however a certainty that its deep bench will be tested once more as Coach Gregg Popovich has every intention to keep the minutes down for starters Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
The Pick: LA Lakers.
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