Hornets at Lakers Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/29/2013
Kobe Bryant, point guard extraordinaire? Even though the Los Angeles Lakers have a two-time MVP and future Hall of Fame point guard in Steve Nash, it has been Bryant essentially running the show from the point in L.A.’s past two games, both wins.
Kobe shot the ball just 10 times in L.A.’s 18-point home win Friday over Utah but had 14 assists. On Sunday, the Lakers had their signature win of the season, beating Oklahoma City 105-96. Bryant attempted just 12 shots but had another 14 assists. He has been just one rebound shy of a triple-double in each game. Now the Lakers on Tuesday go for their first three-game winning streak since winning a season-high five straight, a streak capped with a Christmas Day win over the Knicks.
The soon-to-be Pelicans, meanwhile, have played much better in the past month or so. Ever since losing an 11th straight game on Dec. 22 to drop to 5-22, New Orleans is a solid 10-7. Included in that stretch are impressive wins over San Antonio and Houston. And the Hornets have been very competitive on the road lately. They won at Memphis 91-83 on Sunday behind seven three-pointers and 22 points from reserve Ryan Anderson – all 13 of the 6-foot-10 Anderson’s shot attempts were from long range. It was the Hornets’ third win in their past four road games, and the only loss was a close one at the Spurs.
Hornets at Lakers Betting Story Lines
Certainly you can’t expect Bryant to keep racking up 14 assists. In fact, it’s only the second time in his career he has had at least 14 dimes in consecutive games – the first was way back in 2002. But the Lakers do seem more in sync with Kobe as the primary ball-handler and Nash playing off the ball. The Lakers are averaging 103.5 points in the past two and outscoring opponents by 13.5 points. In the previous 42 games, the Lakers outscored teams by an average of just 0.8 points.
The magic number seems to be 20 shots for Kobe. The Lakers are 13-3 this season when he shoots under 20 times a game and 6-22 when he jacks it up at least 20 times. Bryant is a terrific 15-for-22 from the field in the back-to-back wins. He was well below 50 percent from the field in the previous four games when he shot at least 22 times in each and L.A. lost them all. The Lakers are 7-14 this season when Kobe scores 30 and 3-0 when he has 11 or more assists. Nash also seems to like the new role, shooting 6-for-11 from the field in the past two games and averaging 16.0 points.
Hornets No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis probably isn’t going to win Rookie of the Year honors – Portland’s Damian Lillard should – but Davis has been pretty solid this month after missing chunks of November and December due to injury. The former Kentucky star is averaging 10.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while shooting 57.7 percent from the field this month. Sometimes statistics don’t really show how often Davis disrupts the opposing team’s offense.
There is one key injury situation to be aware of. Lakers backup point guard Steve Blake has been cleared to play after missing the past 37 games with an abdominal strain. D’Antoni says Blake is a perfect fit for his offense, but right now L.A. isn’t really running D’Antoni’s typical offense. Blake has yet to play game this season under D’Antoni.
Tuesday is the second meeting of the season. Back on Dec. 5 in New Orleans, the Lakers won 103-87 as a 4.5-point favorite (total was 190). Kobe had 29 points to lead L.A., and it was the night he became the youngest player ever with 30,000 career points. He reached the milestone, just the fifth to do so in NBA history, with a right-handed runner late in the second quarter. Kobe was 34 years and 104 days old then, easily bettering the previous record set by Wilt Chamberlain (35 years, 179 days). The Lakers have won eight straight regular-season games in this series and six in a row at Staples Center. In 43 games (39 starts) against New Orleans, Bryant is averaging 25.5 points. The Hornets’ Davis missed that first meeting as did the Lakers’ Pau Gasol.
Hornets at Lakers Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Lakers opened as seven-point favorites with the total at 194.5 (the only Tuesday game under 200). New Orleans is 24-20 ATS (15-7 on road) and 22-22 “over/under” (13-9 on road). The Lakers are 18-25-1 ATS (12-12 at home) and 21-22-1 O/U (9-14-1 at home).
The Hornets have covered in their past four road games. New Orleans is 7-2 ATS in its past nine against the Western Conference. The Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their past five home games. The under is 5-1 in the Hornets’ past six games when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game. The under is 9-1-1 in the Lakers’ past 11 home games. The under has hit in eight of L.A’s past 10 Tuesday games. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings. The Hornets have covered in 10 of their past 13 trips to L.A.
Hornets at Lakers Picks and Betting Predictions
The Lakers really need this game, and I believe they play with a major sense of urgency because Los Angeles has a seven-game road trip after Tuesday night, and we all know how bad the Lakers have been away from Staples Center. I do worry about a bit of a letdown after Sunday’s big win, but I still believe this will be a double-digit victory. Take the Lakers and the under.
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