L.A. Lakers (46-17 SU 26-35-2 ATS) vs. Orlando Magic (43-20 SU 31-28-4 ATS) Amway Arena, Orlando, FL 2:30 PM EST Sunday March 7, 2010 on ABC
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Lakers +2/Magic -2
On Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State the Orlando Magic host the defending champion L.A. Lakers. The Lakers still have a 4 game lead in the Western Conference, but the team that is in 2nd place in the streaking Dallas Mavericks, who have won 10 straight. The Lakers have lost 2 games in a row and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
The Magic are streaking, as they have won 4 straight and they are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They are in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, but it looks as if that is the best they can do in the East since they trail Cleveland by 6 games.
This season the Magic are 24-6 at home and the Lakers are 17-12 on the road.
The Lakers really have to play better against the Magic than they did in their last game, which they only shot 36% from the field and they committed 20 turnovers.
Kobe Bryant (27.6 ppg) has really struggled with his shot since missing 3 games with an ankle injury. However, he did not play bad in their last loss to the Charlotte Bobcats going 9/21 from the floor, but the other Lakers really were ice cold shooting the rock, as Pau Gasol shot 5/ 14, Andrew Bynum shot 3/9, and Ron Artest shot 1/9.
OK, so the Magic have not played the toughest teams in their 4-game winning streak (Nets, Warriors, 76ers, and Heat), but they have crushed all of those teams, as all wins were by double digits. In 3 of those 4 games their defense held their opponents to under 100 points.
Dwight Howard is the leading rebounder in the league, but he will need help in this game keeping the Lakers’ 7-foot duo of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol off the boards.
The Magic shooters have to hit their open J’s in this game so the Lakers do not pack the lane to contain Howard.
The Lakers lost to the Charlotte Bobcats 98-93 on Friday night. Kobe Bryant was the high scorer for L.A. in the game going for 26 points on 9/21 shooting. For the game the Lakers were throwing up bricks shooting 29/80 from the floor for a FG% of 36.3%. On defense the Lakers left it at home allowing the Bobcats to shoot 36/70 for a FG% of 51.4%.
The Magic won their last game, also on Friday night, beating the New Jersey Nets 97-87. The high scorer for Orlando in the game was Matt Barnes going for 16 points on 6/10 shooting. For the game the Magic shot 34/77 for a FG% of 44.2%. On D the Magic were solid holding the Nets to only 32/80 for a FG% pf 40%.
This season the Lakers rank 5th in the league in scoring (103 ppg) and the Magic rank 10th (101.7 ppg). On defense the Magic rank 6th in points allowed (95.5 ppg) and the Lakers rank 8th (96.5 ppg). Both teams are pretty even on the boards, as the Magic have a rebounding differential of +2.7 rpg and the Lakers are at +2.1 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 2nd (96.07) and the Magic rank 3rd (95.20).
Orlando is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games, and 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games against teams from the Pacific Division.
Orlando has an Under record of 4-0 in their last 4 home games, an Under record of 6-1 in their last 7 games against teams with a winning road record, and an Under record of 21-7 in their last 28 games.
L.A. is 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games, and # 1-4-3 ATS in their last 8 games against teams with a winning percentage above 60%.
L.A. has an Under record of 7-2 in their last 10 games, and Under record of 9-3 in their last 12 games, and an Under record of 6-1 in their last 7 games after a loss.
On the injury front PG Shannon Brown is day-to-day for L.A. while Orlando is not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: I like Orlando to win and cover the spread.