LA Lakers vs. Washington Wizards Preview and Pick – Point Spread

L.A. Lakers (33-11 19-25 ATS) vs. Washington Wizards (14-29 16-25-2 ATS) Verizon Center, Washington D.C. 7 PM EST Tuesday January 26, 2010 on NBA TV
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Lakers -8 / Wizards +8
Over/Under: 199

Tonight the Washington Wizards, who are in a tailspin, host the defending champion LA Lakers. Many had thought the Wizards would be a dark horse this season with Gilbert Arenas finally healthy and a legit core of good players, but Arenas is out indefinitely with his gun-related issues and Washington is in 2nd to last place in the Eastern Conference 7 games back of the 8th position in the East.

The Wizards have lost 3 in a row, are only 3-7 in their last 10 games, and are in last place in the Southeast Division only 15 games back of the Atlanta Hawks. The Lakers still have the best record in the Western Conference, 2nd best in the NBA, but they are not playing their best basketball as of late losing their last game and only going 5-5 in their last 10 games.

This season the Wizards are 8-14 on the road and the Lakers are 10-8 in away games.

Luckily for the Wizards the Lakers are only 2 games above .500 on the road and have lost 7 of their last 9 games away from La La Land.

Washington has to rely on Antawn Jamison (21.7 ppg) to carry them and he has not come through, as in the Wizards 3-game losing streak he has only averaged 11.7 ppg on 35% shooting.

The Wizards’ bench has also played poorly, as they are among the league’s worst only averaging 24.8 ppg this season and only scored 19 points in their last loss.

Speaking of the bench the Lakers’ Lamar Odom is a legit 6th man, but since Pau Gasol has returned from injury he is back to the pine. When he comes off the bench he has only averaged 7.5 ppg this season, but 11.4 as a starter. The Lakers are 14-2 when Odom scores at least 11 ppg.

To have any chance at this game Wizards’ C Brendan Haywood (9.8 ppg 10.7 rpg) has to be a rock inside playing good D on Andrew Bynum (15.6 ppg 8.4 rpg) and Pau Gasol (17.1 ppg 10.9 rpg) and not let these guys score easy buckets inside and dominate the boards.

The Lakers have won 5 straight against the Wizards including their last 3 in the Nation’s Capital.

In their last game the Lakers lost to the Toronto Raptors 106-105 on Sunday, as Kobe Bryant could not hit a game-winning jumper. Kobe was the high scorer for the Lakers in the game going for 27 points on 11/24 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 45/98 from the floor for a decent FG% of 45.9%. On D the Lakers allowed the Raptors to shoot 39/92 for a FG% of 47.6%.

The Wizards lost to the L.A. Clippers 92-78 also on Sunday. The high scorer for the Wizards in the game was Antawn Jamison going for 20 points on 8/16 shooting. For the game the Wizards could not conjure up any magic only going 32/81 for a FG% of only 39.5%. On defense the Wizards allowed the Clippers to shoot 37/86 for a FG% of 43%.

This season the Lakers rank 6th in scoring (103.1 ppg) and the Wizards rank 17th (99 ppg). On defense the Lakers rank a respectable 8th in points allowed (96.8 ppg) while the Wizards rank 21st (102.4 ppg). The Lakers have a rebounding differential of +2.0 rpg and the Wizards are at -1.0 rpg.

According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 2nd (96.07) and the Wizards rank 27th (85.49).

L.A. is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games, 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite, and the total has gone Over in 9 of their last 13 games as the favorite.

Washington is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a home underdog of 5.0-10.5, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games against teams with a winning road record, and the total has gone Over in 4 of their last 5 games.

On the injury front SF Ron Artest is day-to-day for the Lakers and PG Javaris Crittenton is Out for the Wizards.

Jason’s Pick: The Lakers simply have too many weapons, especially on offense, for the Wizards to deal with and that is the case even if Arenas was in the lineup. The Lakers will win this game sending the Wizards to their 4th straight loss, but Washington will show up in this game and cover the spread. Take the Wizards and the points, as when the Lakers play inferior opponents they tend to not cover the spread. Find the best underdog line on the net for this game at Sportsinteraction.