Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs Preview and Pick

L.A. Lakers 2.5 (31-6) at San Antonio Spurs -2.5 (24-12) O/U 199 9 PM ET Wednesday January 14, 2009 on ESPN
By Jason Green at Predictem.com

Tonight the L.A. Lakers travel to San Antonio to play the Spurs. Tim Duncan carried the Spurs when Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were out with injuries and now that those 2 are back the Spurs are, once again, a legit contender in the Western Conference. The Lakers are hot, hot, hot, as they have won 4 in a row and are 9-1 in their last 10 games. Even though the Spurs are coming off a loss, they are 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Lakers are running away with the Pacific Division, with a 8 game lead over the Phoenix Suns, while the Spurs are in a close race in the Southwest Conference, as they lead the division but are only 1 game ahead of the New Orleans Hornets.

This season the Spurs are 14-7 at home and the Lakers are a solid 11-4 away from La La land.

Basketball betting sites have the Spurs as 2.5 point favorites with a total around 199. The Spurs are posted at -120 as home favorites and the Lakers are posted at +100 as away dogs.

The Lakers are coming off an impressive win over the Houston Rockets last night 105-100. Need I even mention the high scorer for the Lakers? Yeah, it was Kobe Bryant going for 33 points on 13/32 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot light out going 41/81 from the field for a FG% of 50.6%. On defense the Lakers were a tad soft, allowing the Rockets to shoot 44/83 for a FG% of 53%.

The Spurs come into this game after losing to the Orlando Magic 105-98 on Sunday night. The high scorer for the Spurs in that game was Tony Parker going for 31 points on 13/22 shooting. For the game the Spurs shot well going 39/77 for a FG% of 50.6%. On defense the Spurs allowed the Magic to shoot 36/74 from the floor for a FG% of 48.6%.

This season the Lakers can flat out score, as they rank 1st in scoring (107.7 ppg) and the Spurs rank 19th (97.2 ppg). On defense the Spurs are again a tough again, as they rank 5th in the NBA in points allowed (93.6 ppg), while the Lakers rank a respectable 16th (98.9 ppg). The Lakers are better on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +3.4 rpg, while Tim Duncan needs some help being as the Spurs have a rebounding differential of only -0.3 rpg.

This year the Lakers have the league’s best record, but they are only 16-20 ATS and the Spurs are not much better at 17-18-1. In terms of Over/Under games the Lakers are 22-16 this season and the Spurs are 21-22.

On the injury front SF Luke Walton is Out and PF Lamar Odom PF, SG Sasha Vujacic, and SG Kobe Bryant are all day-to-day, while the Spurs are not reporting any significant injuries, which is so unlike them.

Even though the Lakers are hot, they are banged up and playing against a tough Spurs team.

A big key for the Lakers winning this game is how PG Derek Fisher (11.2 ppg) plays D on Tony Parker (21.3 ppg). Backup Lakers’ PG Jordan Farmer is injured and Fisher needs to keep Parker from penetrating and having a big scoring game.

You know Kobe is going to get his points, but the Spurs need to play good interior D, as they do not match up well with Lakers C Andrew Bynum (12.5 ppg 8 rpg). The Spurs need to put a body on him and not let him dominate the boards. If Pau Gasol (17.6 ppg) is hitting the outside J it will pull out Duncan to play D and Bynum may have a huge game in the paint.

Manu Ginobili is back from a major ankle injury, but he is not back to being the player he was, as he is only shooting 33.3% from downtown and averaging 14.5 ppg, which is around 5 points less than last year. The Spurs will need Ginobili at his best, not only tonight, but to get out of the Wild Wild West.

Duncan and Parker have to have a good game tonight to beat the defending Western Conference champions.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Spurs to win and cover at home tonight.