Free NBA Picks: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/17/2010
Yes, the Suns and Lakers are still alive in the NBA playoffs – it just seems like their season had been completed with the ridiculous delay before they start the West Finals. To add to the silliness, the two teams play again Wednesday and then not again until Sunday. You just have to love the power of TV …
Suns at Lakers, 9 p.m. (TNT)
The line: Lakers -6 (210.5)
Player props: Steve Nash total points + assists (27.5); Jason Richardson total points (15.5); Kobe Bryant total points (29.5).
How they enter: Well rested! Both teams swept their foes in the West semifinals. L.A. has been off since finishing off the Jazz last Monday, while the Suns surprisingly swept out the Spurs two Sundays ago.
Scouting report: Let’s start with the injury situation. Suns star Steve Nash had his eye bashed by a Tim Duncan inadvertent elbow in the series finale but will play – it’s still black-and-blue but at least he can see out of it now. The Suns have been without starting center Robin Lopez for the entire playoffs as he dealt with a bulging disc in his back, but he is expected to start tonight. This is a huge deal because the Suns are a bit undersized and of course the Lakers have a tremendous frontcourt of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Speaking of Bynum, he is nowhere near 100 percent with a torn ligament in his knee but will continue to play. This could be the key to this series. Bynum said the swelling in his injured right knee is getting "worse" despite all that time off. And he was a non-factor in the final two games against the Jazz, totaling just six points. Lakers coach Phil Jackson plans to use Bynum in six-minute intervals. Meanwhile, Kobe recently had a significant amount of fluid drained from his swollen right knee, so reports the L.A. Times, and hasn't practiced since eliminating the Jazz. If Bynum isn’t the key to this series then Richardson is. In the playoffs, Phoenix is 5-0 when he scores at least 20 points. The Suns are 31-4 overall when Richardson scores at least 20. Against the Lakers this season, the Suns are 1-3 and Richardson didn’t score 20 in any of the games. Phoenix led the NBA in scoring during the regular season (110.2 points), as well as field-goal percentage (49.2 percent) and three-point shooting (41.2 percent). The Lakers ranked first in the NBA in three-point defense, holding teams to 32.8 percent shooting,
The picks: The Suns plan to use Grant Hill to defend Kobe, and Hill has been a great defender against guys like Andre Miller and Manu Ginobili in these playoffs. Kobe averaged 32 points per game in the conference semifinals – he seems like a different player once LeBron James was named the NBA MVP (don’t think that didn’t motivate Kobe). There’s a chance that Jackson will put Ron Artest on Richardson, who is averaging 21.9 points through two rounds. Obviously, Richardson poses more of an offensive threat than Hill does.
L.A. is just a bad matchup for Phoenix, so I have little doubt the Lakers win this series. However, I do like Phoenix to cover in Game 1. The Suns have covered their past five as a road dog. The ‘over’ has hit in eight of the past 11 meetings, so go with that as well. I would go ‘under’ 29.5 points for Kobe for Bodog props, as he averaged 27.5 vs. Phoenix this year. Nash’s playoff combined points + assists average is 26.8, but he should own Derek Fisher. However, Nash did only average 13.8 points and nine assists vs. L.A. this season. So take the ‘under’ there. J-Rich has been great in these playoffs but had only 11 in the clincher vs. San Antonio. He defines the word streaky. I think he can manage at least 16 tonight. So go ‘over’.
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- LA Lakers Could be in Real Trouble with LeBron and AD Injuries
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/20/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 12/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/23/2020 and Opening Line Report