L.A. Lakers -5.5 (37-9) at New York Knicks +5.5 (21-24) O/U 225 7:30 PM ET Monday February 2, 2009
By Jason Green at Predcitem.com
Tonight the L.A. Lakers cross the country and head to the Big Apple to play the New York Knicks. You would think this game would be an easy one for the Lakers, as they currently have the 2nd best record in the league, while the Knicks are 4 games under .500, but the Knicks are on fire and moving up in the standings, as they have won 3 in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Not that the Lakers are playing bad, as they have won 2 in a row and are also 7-3 in their last 10 games. However, things are dicey in La La land, as C Andrew Bynum recently sprained his knee and the Lakers need the big guy if they want to go all the way this season.
This season the Knicks are 14-9 at home and the Lakers are 14-5 away from L.A.
Hoops bookies have the Lakers as 5.5 point favorites with a whopping total of around 225. The Lakers are posted at -240 as away favorites and the Knicks are posted at +190 as home dogs.
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The Knicks come into this game after beating the Indiana Pacers 122-113 on Saturday night. The high scorer for the Knicks in that game was Al Harrington going for 31 points on 14/26 shooting. Knicks C David Lee had a monster game with 23 points and 17 boards. For the game the Knicks shot 46/94 for a FG% of 48.9%. On defense the Knicks allowed the Pacers to shoot 42/100 for a FG% of 42%.
The Lakers come into this game after beating the Memphis Grizzlies 115-98 on Saturday night. Yeah, Kobe was the high scorer going for 25 points on 10/20 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot lights out going 44/82 from the field for a FG% of 53.7%. On defense the Lakers are usually legit, but not in this game, as they allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 39/76 for a FG% of 51.3%.
This game should be a barnburner, as the Lakers lead the league in scoring (108.3 ppg) and the Knicks rank 5th (104.1 ppg). As a team the Lakers are shooting just over 47% from the field. The reason the Knicks are under .500 if they can’t play D, ranking 27th in the league in opponents scoring (106.1 ppg), while the Lakers rank 15th (99.6 ppg). The Lakers have a rebounding differential of +3 rpg, while the Knicks are getting killed on the boards at -3.9 rpg.
This season the Lakers are 23-23 ATS and the Knicks are a legit 27-19. In terms of Over/Under games the Lakers are 28-18 and the Knicks are 19-27.
On the injury front C Andrew Bynum is day-to-day for the Lakers and C Jared Jeffries is day-to-day for the Knicks.
The Knicks will show if they are a legit threat to make the playoffs in their current home stand, as after the Lakers tonight they play the Cavaliers on Wednesday and the Celtics on Friday. The Knicks need a strong home stand, as they are game back of the Bucks for the final playoff spot in the East.
The Knicks will not have to deal with an injured Bynum tonight, but they will have to play some D on the many scoring options that the Lakers have.
Kobe (26.6 ppg) will get his points, but the Knicks have to keep Pau Gasol (17.6 ppg) from having a big game scoring.
With Bynum out, David Lee and other NY bigs will have to have a big game for the Knicks in the paint. If the front line struggles, the Knicks have no chance.
Even though the Knicks have decent size they are not a good rebounding team and they need to crash the boards tonight in order to ignite their fast break and to keep the Lakers from getting 2nd chance points.
The Lakers also have to play good D against the front line players of Al Harrington (19.4 ppg 6.2 rpg) and All-Star snub David Lee (15.9 ppg 11.7 rpg), who is on fire lately averaging 20.2 ppg and 14.3 rpg is his last 6 games.
For the Knicks to pull off the upset tonight their perimeter players will have to shoot the J well to keep the Lakers from packing the lane on D.
The Knicks may have to change their style tonight, as if they play run-and-gun the Lakers have the players to score a ton of points.
Jason’s Pick: I believe the loss of Bynum is a bit overstated. They’ll simply move Pau Gasol to C and ask more out of F Lamar Odom which may even make them a better team than when they had Bynum in!