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Lakers Will Try To Surprise The World

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/17/2013 7:32:06 PM

From the label of online sports betting favorites to emerge out of the Western Conference in 2013 to the very likely possibility they would miss the playoffs. From Mike Brown’s firing to the Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard trade rumors, and ultimately getting in only after losing their biggest superstar in Kobe Bryant, this season has been quite the rollercoaster for the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans. Everybody talked about the damage they could be able to do if they just somehow managed to get in to the postseason. Well, the Lakers have clinched the eighth seed and are now set to take on the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the opening round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs, and it will be interesting to see if they can surprise the world again.

NBA Western Conference Quarterfinals
(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers certainly didn’t fare well against Oklahoma City during the regular season, losing three of their four contests in the online betting season series. That was when they had Kobe in the lineup, in the time before he went down with a torn Achilles that will have him sidelined for six to nine months. The Lakers no longer have a go-to scorer on the perimeter, and while Howard and Gasol will now be asked to take on the majority of the load, they don’t have the ability to create and hit their own shot the way that Kobe could. Steve Nash isn’t the same point guard that won back-to-back NBA MVP awards only a couple of years ago, and Los Angeles doesn’t exactly have a ton of weaponry waiting on the bench to make an impact.

The bottom line is that the Lakers don’t really match up very well against the Thunder for a playoff series either. Oklahoma City has the big men in Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka that will make life miserable for Howard and Gasol, and you better believe when it comes to Howard that they won’t hesitate for a second to put him on the free throw line. The Thunder also have the type of speed that will make it very difficult for Metta World Peace and Nash to contain them, particularly with the matchup on the point with Russell Westbrook looking to take advantage of his quickness and size against the much smaller and slower Nash. The Lakers will have a tough time containing that speed on offense, and will struggle if they try and run a high tempo offense at the other end.

That said, this Lakers’ team has fought very hard to get here and is playing with a chip on its shoulder. The sports betting experts have written the purple and gold off, and they have heard the critics all season. The Lakers may not be able to win a series against Oklahoma City, but just don’t expect them to lay down and let the Thunder roll on by without a fight.

NBA Betting Pick: Thunder in Six



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