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Smiles All Around

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 4/6/2011 5:17:33 PM

Coach Phil Jackson does not smile very often during the regular NBA season but he was grinning ear-to-ear last Friday when his Lakers overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Utah Jazz by 11.

Los Angeles won 17 of the first 18 since the All-Star break.

They were winning their 9th game in a row and the way they did it was impressive considering it was the second of a back-to-back game after humbling Dallas on Thursday.

The Lakers were missing Matt Barnes, who was serving a one-game suspension for coming to the aid of Steve Blake against Dallas.

Still even without that good defensive player, the Lakers held Utah to 41% shooting from the floor, they had more assists and forced more turnovers.

The Lakers came out soft and were beaten by a point by those same Jazz on Tuesday.

So how can hoop bettors approach the last week of the regular season as far as how the two Western leaders, the San Antonio Spurs and the Lakers, will do against the spread?

Let’s look at Texas first.

The Spurs have to play 4 games in the last week. They have the Kings and Jazz at home, have to face the Lakers in L.A. and end the season the next night in Phoenix.

The Spurs beat the Kings in both meetings this season but covered just once and that was in the 13-point win in California. The Kings are a .500 team ATS on the road this year and they can rebound the ball. The lean would be to take the points and hope the Kings can keep it close in Texas.

San Antonio should have an easier time with Utah. They will have two full days to rest and they won and covered in both games against the Jazz this season. Lay the lumber here.

Which brings us to one may be the pivotal game of the season against the Lakers in Staples.

The Spurs beat the Lakers the last time in L.A. but Kobe shot horribly that night. The word Kobe used the other night after a win is that they were ‘engaged’. That’s bad news for the Spurs, look for the Lakers to win and cover.

The Phoenix Suns will likely miss the playoffs but they are a proud veteran team. Phoenix played the Spurs tough early in the year losing by a hoop in Arizona, and then they covered in Texas as an 8-point loser. Depending on how things went against the Lakers will determine the mindset but if the Spurs clinch the top seed vs. L.A. they could lay down against the Suns.

L.A. has 5 games in the last week. We already went over the Spurs game so forget about that one.

They have a weak Golden State team to play on the road and a tough Portland team to play in the Rose Garden. They will host Oklahoma, then end the season on the road in Sacramento.

Golden State has a losing record against the spread. They lost all 3 games vs. the Lakers this season, covering once by a point. Expect L.A. to be focused and to cover.

Portland was a plus 5 against the spread after 37 home games. As good as Portland has played this season, they lost all 3 games with the Lakers but did cover by a point and a half in late March. The problem Portland will have is that LaMarcus Aldridge cannot handle Andrew Bynum down low. That’s the difference and that will push L.A. to cover.

The Lakers covered and won the first two games with the Kings this season but lost outright at home by 5 in late January. There was a reason for the defeat.

The Lakers were in the midst of losing 3 of 4 and two of the Lakers most important players, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom, could only combine for 8 points and 8 rebounds.

If this one has any meaning, expect the Lakers to blow the doors off the Kings.

There you have it, the playoffs are calling. Good luck and good wagering.


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