NBA Preview/ Free Pick: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers NBA Betting Lines from Sportsbook.com
Wednesday 10:30 PM
Los Angeles: 39-19 SU, 26-31-1 ATS
Portland: 32-24 SU, 28-25-3 ATS
NBA Betting Favorite:Off
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The Lakers couldn’t have possibly ended the first half of the season any worse, so it is important for this team to get off to a good start after the All-Star break. Portland was red hot into the break, and they have been playing better basketball than just about anyone else in the league. The Lakers will travel to the Portland to take on the Blazers in what has the potential to be a first-round NBA playoffs matchup preview.
Los Angeles had to be completely embarrassed by being blown out by the Bobcats and then losing to the Cavaliers right before the break. During the entire break, the Lakers were constantly hearing about how terrible they are. The team started the second half off right with a blowout of the Hawks on Tuesday.
There is no doubt this is a team with some problems, but I also think some people are overdoing the negativity. The Lakers are still the two-time reigning champions, and as far as I’m concerned they should be the favorite until proven otherwise. What needs to improve? The output from role players such as Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, and Shannon Brown must become more consistent.
The Lakers are usually a decent team defensively, but they have had more breakdowns this year than they have in the past. Lamar Odom is having a career year and Pau Gasol is one of the best big men in the league. Andrew Bynum’s health is a big concern for this team. If Bynum can stay healthy they are a much stronger team down low.
Kobe Bryant’s numbers may down just a little, but he is still having a very good season. The Lakers are limiting Bryant’s minutes pretty well this year, and he is still very capable of going off at any time.
Portland finished the first half of the season with six straight wins, four of them coming on the road. The Blazers have been sparked by the amazing play of LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge averaged 34 points per game in the last six games before the break, and he has been carrying this team of late. It wouldn’t be the Portland Trail Blazers if there weren’t all sorts of injury concerns, and that is certainly the case once again this year. Brandon Roy is currently listed as questionable for this game. Roy has been out since the middle of December, and he had an operation on both knees.
Marcus Camby is listed as doubtful, and the team has been without him since January 17. Nate McMillan’s team has done a nice job staying in the playoff race without two of their key players, and Portland fans have to hope that Roy and Camby can come back fully healthy before too long.
Key contributions from guys like Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum have helped the team build momentum without their stars. Portland must work to keep their team chemistry high and integrate Roy and Camby back into their game plan as they become available.
I don’t think Portland is the type of team that has the depth to make a run deep into the playoffs, but they won’t be an easy first-round matchup if they are healthy.
Under is 31-15 in LAL last 46 overall.
Home team is 7-2 ATS in the last 9 meetings.
Underdog is 20-7 ATS in the last 27 meetings.
I think the Lakers are going to come out to prove a point after the break, and they have been good on the road this year. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom will give the Blazers problems down low. I like the Lakers to win this game in Portland.
Los Angeles vs. Portland Score Prediction: Los Angeles 97 Portland 91
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