NBA Picks: Charlotte Bobcats vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Charlotte Bobcats at Los Angeles Lakers
Tuesday, 1/31/12, 10:30 PM EST, TV:  FSW
Opening Point Spread:  Los Angeles -13.5
Current Betting Line:  Los Angeles -12.5
Opening Total:  184
Current Total:  181.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to see more offense from forward Pau Gasol heading into February

Charlotte opens up a four-game road trip in Los Angeles and will look to snap an eight-game losing streak that includes a 102-99 defeat to the Washington Wizards as 1.5-point home underdogs last time out.  The Bobcats have managed to average just 85.4 points per game during the streak, leaving many around the organization looking for answers.  “We had guys that made shots,” commented Bobcats head coach Paul Silas.  “We just couldn’t make free throws.”  The roster is banged up due to the shortened season with five players listed on the injury report.  Charlotte is 8-1 ATS as a road underdog of 12.5 to 15 points.

The Bobcats have been thrilled with the play of rookie guard Kemba Walker so far during the 2011-12 campaign, averaging 11.7 points in 26.0 minutes of action per game.  He scored 20 points and handed out a career-high 11 assists last time out.  Charlotte is 8-6 all-time against Los Angeles, as it looks to improve upon its 3-4 mark in the series when playing on the road.  Staring point guard D.J. Augustin is expected to miss tonight’s contest, but Gerald Henderson could return to the lineup, which could provide a lift due to this 18 points in a victory over the Lakers on Feb. 14.

Los Angeles has alternated wins and losses over its last four games, coming off a 106-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves as two-point road underdogs.  The Lakers will not be at the Staples Center for long, venturing out on a season-high six-game road trip on Friday.  “We have to be a little more consistent,” commented Lakers guard Kobe Bryant about his team’s recent play.  He’s coming off a 35-point performance and also grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds in Sunday’s victory.  Los Angeles is 7-5 ATS at home this season and the “under” is 7-5 in those contests.

The Lakers are hoping that power forward Pau Gasol can build upon his latest performance, scoring 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting versus the Timberwolves.  He was hindered by a right shoulder injury earlier in the season, but has commented that it no longer bothers him on the court.  Los Angeles hasn’t won back-to-back games since mid-January and will be looking for its third consecutive home win over Tuesday night’s opponent.

Bettors will likely back the Bobcats due to their 8-2 ATS mark as an underdog of 11 or more points, while the Lakers are 0-5 ATS versus Eastern Conference foes.

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