WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF Predictions: Hornets vs Lakers Series Preview
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#2 LA LAKERS VS. #7 NEW ORLEANS HORNETS PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Sunday April 17 at L.A. 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Wednesday April 20, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Friday April 22, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Sunday April 24, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
*Tuesday April 26, TBD, TBD
*Thursday April 28, TBD, TBD
*Saturday April 30, TBD, TNT
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Odds To Win Series
Odds To Win Western Conference
Odds To Win NBA Title
L.A. LAKERS +185
NEW ORLEANS HORNETS +9000
Injuries of Note: Los Angeles: Matt Barnes – G – Day-to-Day (sore knee)
Steve Blake – G – Out Indefinitely (chicken pox)
Andrew Bynum – C – Day-to-Day (sore knee)
Devin Ebanks – F – Out Indefinitely (leg injury)
New Orleans: David West - F - Out For Season (knee injury)
Season series: Lakers won season series 4-0
The Lakers begin their quest for a 3-peat and after losing 5 straight near the end of the season they won their last 2 games and they got good news since Andrew Bynum only has a bone bruise and he will be available for the playoffs. They also have to be happy to be facing a struggling Hornets’ team that lost their last 3 games of the season and is not playing good on both ends of the court, as the playoffs begin. On top of that the Lakers swept the 4 games they played against the Hornets this season.
The Lakers got down to business in winning their last 2 games to wrap up the #2 seed in the playoffs and forget that 5-game losing streak, as the Lakers still have the best betting odds to win the NBA title. Kobe Bryant knows how to win and the Hornets come into this series with their confidence hurting with their recent play and do they think they can beat L.A., which they have not been able to do this season?
The news that Bynum will be back for the playoffs is HUGE, as the Lakers are giving up 6 fewer points per game with their C in the lineup. He is key, as Chris Paul is a lightning quick point guard and there is no way that Derek Fisher can keep up with him, but now Bynum will be down low and not allow Paul to get easy buckets in the paint.
One key stat in this series is the fact that the Lakers rank 3rd in the league in rebounds per game while the Hornets only rank 23rd. Pau Gasol (10.2 rpg), Bynum (9.4 rpg), and Lamar Odom (8.7 rpg) are all solid on the glass and they create nightmares for the Hornets. Emeka Okafor is the leading rebounder for the Hornets at 9.6 rpg and he will need help, big time, in this series on the boards from Trevor Ariza (5.4 rpg) and Landry (4.1 rpg).
The Hornets have a good D ranking 4th in the league in opponents points allowed, but in their 3 game losing streak to end the season they gave up over 107 ppg. Their defense is vital in this series, as New Orleans has also been hurting on offense only averaging just over 85 ppg in their last 3 games of the season.
Many though the Hornets had no chance in the playoffs when leading scorer David West went out with a season-ending knee injury on March 24th. Carl Landry (11.9 ppg) stepped up with West out, as he averaged just over 20 ppg in his first 5 games starting at the PF position, but in the last 5 games of season he only averaged 9.6 ppg. That is a key stat, as Landry has to help Paul (16 ppg) out on offense.
This season the Hornets were not a very good road team going 18-23 away from the Big Easy, but they will have to win at least one game in La La Land to win this series.
Get out the brooms! The Hornets simply do not match up with the Lakers at all, especially in the paint. Even if New Orleans was playing well at the end of the season, which they did not, I would say Lakers in 5, but since New Orleans is not playing good ball I am saying the Lakers will win in a sweep. The Lakers will take care of business in this series and they will do it quickly and easily.
Pick: Lakers in a sweep (4-0)