LA Lakers vs. NY Knicks Preview and Pick – Point Spread

L.A. Lakers (32-10 18-24 ATS) vs. New York Knicks (17-24 20-21 ATS) Madison Square Garden New York, NY 8 PM EST Friday January 22, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Lakers -5 / Knicks +5
Over/Under: 200.5

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Tonight in the Big Apple the New York Knicks host the L.A. Lakers. The Lakers look for their 6th straight win over the Knicks and in his last game in New York Kobe Bryant dropped 61 on them. The Lakers are coming off a disappointing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but are 6-4 in their last 10 games and still lead the Pacific Division with a 7.5 game lead over the Phoenix Suns. The Knicks are coming off a win, are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and are in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division trailing the Boston Celtics by 10.5 games.

This season the Knicks are 10-11 at home and the Lakers are 9-7 on the road.

Kobe Bryant has been struggling lately with his shot and it may be because of his broken index finger on his shooting hand. In his last 9 games the superstar is only shooting 37.1% from the floor. However, Kobe has never had a problem scoring in Madison Square Garden, as in his career he is averaging 30.5 ppg in 11 games there.

The Knicks look to get to .500 at home with a win tonight and they will be facing a Lakers team that is only 2 games above .500 away from the Staples Center (9-7).

New York has been solid at home in the past 7 weeks, as since the beginning of December they are 9-3 at MSG and they have been winning with their defense, as in those 9 wins they only allowed one opponent to score over 100 points.

The Lakers have won 6 of their last 8 games in New York averaging just over 110 ppg.

In their last game the Lakers lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 93-87 last night. Kobe was the high scorer for the Lakers in the game going for 31 points on 12/31 shooting, but only shot 4/15 in the 2nd half. For the game the Lakers shot poorly going 32/83 for a weak FG% of 38.6%. On defense the Lakers did not have a great game allowing the Cavs to shoot 34/71 for a FG% of 47.9%.

The Knicks won their last game on Monday night over the Detroit Pistons 99-91. The high scorer for New York in the game was reserve Nate Robinson going for 27 points on 11/18 shooting including going 5/9 from behind the 3-pt arc. For the game the Knicks shot 36/73 for a FG% of 49.3%. On D the Knicks were legit holding the Pistons to 39/96 shooting for a FG% of 40.5%.

This season the Lakers rank 6th in scoring (103.5 ppg) and the Knicks rank 13th (100.7 ppg). On defense the Lakers rank 7th in points allowed (96.4 ppg) and the Knicks only rank 21st (102 ppg). The Lakers have been a much better team on the boards this season, as they have a rebounding differential of +2.0 rpg and the Knicks are at -3.7 rpg.

According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 2nd (96.10) and the Knicks rank 21st (87.68). If you go by these rankings the Knicks may be in trouble, as they are only 3-9 against teams ranked in the top 10.

L.A. is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on the road, 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games as the away favorite, and in 5 of their last 6 games the total has gone Under.

New York is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with a winning record, 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games against teams in the Western Conference, and the total has gone Under in 10 of their last 12 home games.

On the injury front C Andrew Bynum is day-to-day for the Lakers and C Eddy Curry is Out for the Knicks.

Jason’s Pick: The Knicks actually have a shot of winning this game straight up. Take them at +5.5 to cover the spread.