L.A. Lakers +1.5 (43-20) at San Antonio Spurs -1.5 (51-13) O/U 196 8 PM ET Thursday March 12, 2009 on TNT
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Tonight the L.A. Lakers head to the Lone Star State to play the San Antonio Spurs. These 2 teams are in the first and second position in the Western Conference, but unless each team has a late season collapse it will stay that way, as the Lakers have a 7.5 game lead over the Spurs and the Spurs have a 3.5 game lead over the third place Houston Rockets. Each of these teams is 7-3 in their last 10 games. Even though this game does not mean much in the standings it is important for confidence, especially for the Spurs. The Spurs can’t let the Lakers think they can beat them at home, as that will be an important confidence booster for Kobe and company if these 2 teams meet in the Western Conference Finals.
Online Sportsbooks have the Spurs as 1.5-point favorites in this game with a total around 196. The Spurs are posted at -130 as home favorites and the Lakers are posted at +110 as away dogs.
The Lakers come into this game after beating the Houston Rockets 102-96 last night. Of course Kobe was the high scorer for the Lakers going for 37 points going 14/23 from the floor. For the game the Lakers shot 43/86 for a FG% of 50%. On D the Lakers allowed the Rockets to shoot 39/76 from the floor for a FG% of 51.3%.
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The Spurs come into this game after beating the Charlotte Bobcats 100-96 on Tuesday night. The high scorers for the Spurs in that game were Tony Parker and Roger Mason, as they both went for 21 points. For the game the Spurs shot 40/82 for a FG% of 48.8%. On D the Spurs allowed the Bobcats to shoot 30/68 for a FG% of 44.1%.
The Lakers can flat out score the pill, as they rank 1st in points scored this season (108.4 ppg), while the Spurs only rank 23rd (97.6 ppg). However, both teams are shooting around 47% from the floor. On D the Spurs are much better and is the main reason they are 2nd in the West. This season the Spurs rank 3rd in points allowed (93.4 ppg) and the Lakers rank 18th (100.6 ppg). The Lakers are a better team on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +2.9 rpg and the Spurs are at +0.6 rpg.
This season the Lakers are 31-31-1 ATS and the Spurs are 32-30-1. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Lakers are 36-26-1 and the Spurs are 30-32-1.
On the injury front PF Lamar Odom is day-to-day for the Lakers and SF Manu Ginobili is Out and Drew Gooden is day-to-day for the Spurs.
The Spurs will get Manu Ginobili back soon, as he has missed 12 games due to injury, but they could really use his scoring tonight.
The Spurs are one of the best defensive teams in the league and they will need to show that tonight against the high scoring Lakers, who have, perhaps, the deepest bench in the league. The Spurs have to not only keep Kobe (28.1 ppg) from having a big game, which is never easy, but they also have to worry about Pau Gasol (18.5 ppg) and Lamar Odom (10.6 ppg).
The Spurs will have to hit the boards hard tonight, as if they let Gasol and Odom dominate the glass it will be a long night for the home team in San Antonio.
Derek Fisher has to play good D on Tony Parker (21 ppg) and not let him penetrate and dish out. When Parker has a big game it opens up the lane for Tim Duncan (20.1 ppg).
The Lakers also have to play good perimeter defense on 3-point bomber Roger Mason (12.1 ppg).
The Spurs will see how newly acquired Drew Gooden (13.1 ppg 8.7 rpg) fits in, as if he can help them down low it will give them a huge boost come playoff time and if and WHEN they play the Lakers in the conference finals.
Jason’s Pick: This is a big game for the Spurs. Expect them to be up to the challenge at home tonight.