Free NBA Picks: Cavaliers at Lakers Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/13/2014
It probably won't be a warm return to Los Angeles on Tuesday night for Cleveland head coach Mike Brown as he faces off against the Lakers for the first time since he was fired by the team early last season. As it turns out, it may have been the best thing to happen to Brown as the Cavs, at least right now, appear to have a brighter future than the Lakers.
L.A. pulled the plug on Brown, considered a defensive specialist, after a 1-4 start to the 2012-13 season. The Lakers were thought to go after Phil Jackson, and they did, but while he was deciding whether to come out of retirement the team blindsided the Zen Master by instead hiring Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers are just 54-55 under D'Antoni, although to be fair this year's record is heavily influenced by the injuries to Kobe Bryant and to a lesser extent Steve Nash.
Neither of these clubs would be in the playoffs if they started today, and I don't expect L.A. to get there, even with Nash and Bryant reportedly returning by Jan. 28. The Cavs are two games out of the final playoff spot in the East, and I fully expect them to be a postseason team with the acquisition of Luol Deng from Chicago last Monday.
Cavaliers at Lakers Betting Story Lines
Cleveland is 2-1 since the Deng trade. He didn't play in that first game but debuted Friday night in a 113-102 victory at Utah. Deng started, as he will the rest of the season at small forward, and had 10 points in 21 minutes. I thought the Cavs might build off that win and the excitement of landing Deng, but the Cavaliers totally mailed it in Sunday night, getting destroyed 124-80 at Sacramento in the largest rout of the NBA season. Yes the Kings are playing better, but a 44-point loss? Deng had 12 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes. He's dealing with a sore Achilles', so Deng likely won't top 30 minutes for a little while. Kyrie Irving was awful against the Kings, going 3-for-14 from the field for seven points. C.J. Miles led the team with 14 points, and he's really playing well of late, averaging 21.0 points in the past five games. He's 16-for-23 from long range in the past four.
The Lakers are really floundering right now. They were also destroyed last time out, losing 123-87 at the Clippers on Friday night. The Lakers allowed 45 first-quarter points and scored only eight in the third in their biggest loss ever to the Clippers. It was the fourth straight loss for the Lakers -- allowing at least 110 points in each -- and 10th in the past 11 games, the team's worst stretch since losing 13 of 14 in 2004-05. How injury ravaged are the Lakers? Here was your other four starters other than Pau Gasol against the Clippers: Robert Sacre, Kendall Marshall, Wesley Johnson and Jodie Meeks. Yikes! Marshall, a 2012 first-round bust with Phoenix, maybe has found something. He's averaging 13.6 points and 11.2 assists in the past five.
L.A. was hoping to get back one starter on Tuesday in Xavier Henry, another former first-round bust who has played better with the Lakers. Henry hasn't played since Dec. 29 due to a bone bruise in his knee but did practice Sunday. He didn't Monday, so playing in this one now seems doubtful. The former Kansas star is averaging 10.1 points per game. The Lakers are so shorthanded that assistant coach and former NBA player Mark Madsen was in uniform at practice Sunday just so the team had 10 players in order to scrimmage. Gasol also had an MRI on Monday after apparently hurting his foot Friday. He's very much up in the air for Tuesday.
Cavaliers at Lakers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Cavaliers opened as two-point favorites with a total of 202.5. Cleveland is 17-20 against the spread (6-13 on road) and 18-19 "over/under" (10-9 on road). L.A. is 18-18-1 ATS (10-7-1 at home) and 18-19 O/U (8-10 at home). The Cavs are 6-1 ATS in their past seven after a loss. They are also 6-1 ATS in their past seven Tuesday games. The Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their past six after a loss. They are 0-5 ATS in their past five when allowing at least 100 points in their previous game. The under is 6-1 in Cleveland's past seven. The under is 8-2 in L.A.'s past 10 when allowing at least 100 points in its previous game. The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 5-1 in the past six in L.A.
Free NBA Picks: Cavaliers at Lakers Betting Prediction
This is the first meeting of the season. They split last season, and L.A. has won three straight in the series at home. Things may only get worse soon for Los Angeles as it heads out on a seven-game road trip following this game as the Grammys take over Staples Center. So if the Lakers don't win here, we could be looking at an 12-game losing streak by the time they return home Jan. 28 against Indiana (so maybe 13 then). I'm sure Brown would love to stick it to the Lakers for bailing on him so quickly, but the Cavs aren't exactly a road juggernaut at 3-16. I was ready to take L.A. here until the Gasol news came down Monday. If he's out, take Cleveland. The under regardless.
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