NBA Betting Picks: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers

San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 10:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: San Antonio -3
Current Line: San Antonio -3 1/2
Opening Total: 200
Current Total: 199 1/2
Opening Money Line: Spurs -150 / Lakers +130
Current Money Line: Spurs -170 / Lakers +150

The Spurs and Lakers renew their rivalry Tuesday night at the Staples Center. The Lakers will likely be without Kobe Bryant for the sixth straight game who is doubtful with a shin injury.

Despite being without Kobe Bryant for the past 5 games, the LA Lakers have won 4 straight games including 112-108 over the slumping Mavericks Sunday in overtime. Bryant is listed as doubtful again Tuesday night as the Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs in a key Western Conference game with playoff implications for both teams. The 39-22 Lakers, coached by Mike Brown, lead the Pacific Division by a game over the Clippers. The Lakers trail first place San Antonio by 5 games with 5 left to play, so unless something drastic happens the winner of the Pacific division will be the #3 seed and the second place team will be the #4 seed.

The 43-16 Spurs, coached by Gregg Popovich, lead Oklahoma City by percentage points for the top seed in the West, and have already clinched the Southwest Division title. Oklahoma City has played 2 more games than San Antonio but the Spurs are a game up in the loss column. The Spurs have won 8 of their last 10 games, including a 120-99 rout at Golden St last night. San Antonio has won 3 straight since a 98-84 home loss to the Lakers last week without Kobe Bryant.

This is the second of 3 games in 9 days between the Lakers and Spurs. They will play again in San Antonio Friday night. Depending on what happens in the last handful of games, these two rivals could meet in the second round of the playoffs if they make that far.

San Antonio is outscoring opponents 102-96 this season. The Spurs are #3 in scoring in the NBA. The Spurs are shooting 47% from the field and 39% from 3 point range. The Spurs are #4 in field goal percentage and #2 in 3 point shooting. San Antonio makes 74.2% from the free throw line. The Spurs average 42.8 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +1.2. San Antonio averages 22.7 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 4.4 blocks a game. Spur opponents are shooting 45.2% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. San Antonio forces 13.6 turnovers a game.

San Antonio point guard Tony Parker averages 18.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 1 steal a game. He leads the Spurs in scoring and assists. Tim Duncan averages 15.2 points, 9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 blocks a game. He leads the Spurs in rebounds and blocks. Manu Ginobli averages 12.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists a game. Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs in steals with 1.3 a game. Gary Neal, Stephen Jackson, Richard Jefferson, DuJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, Daniel Green, Patrick Mills, and Leonard also average at least 7.9 points a game.

The Lakers are outscoring opponents 97-95 this season. LA is shooting 45.8% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. The Lakers are #7 in field goal percentage. LA makes 75.5% of their free throws. The Lakers are #2 in rebounding averaging 46.2 a game with a rebounding margin of +5.5. Los Angeles averages 22.1 assists, 15.1 turnovers, 5.8 steals, and 5.3 blocks a game. Laker opponents are shooting 43.2% from the field and 34.5% from 3 point range. The Lakers are in the top 12 in both categories. LA forces 11.2 turnovers a game.

Guard Kobe Bryant leads the league in scoring averaging 28.1 points, along with 5.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.2 steals a game to lead the team. Center Andrew Bynum averages 18.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2 blocks a game. He leads the Lakers in rebounds and blocks. Bynum is #3 in rebounding in the NBA. Forward Pau Gasol averages 17.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.3 blocks a game. He is #7 in rebounding in the league. Newly acquired point guard Ramon Sessions (traded from Cleveland last month) averages 11.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists to lead the team. Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace, and Steve Blake also get significant minutes. Guard Christian Eyenga is out indefinitely with a toe injury.

LA is 26-35 ATS and the total is 33-27-1 this season. San Antonio is 36-20-3 ATS and the total is 33-26 this season. LA is 10-4 ATS in the last 14 against San Antonio, including 5-2 in Los Angeles. Seven of the last eight played at the Staples Center between the teams have gone under the total. The Spurs are 6-0-2 ATS after a cover, 4-0-1 as a favorite of 4.5 points or less, and as a road favorite of 4.5 points or less,  8-1-2 after a straight up win, 5-1-2 after scoring 100 points or more, 4-1-1 in road games, 4-1 against Pacific division teams, 21-6-3 as a favorite, 6-2-2 against teams with winning records, 27-9-3 overall, 3-1-1 in back-to-backs, 18-7-1 against Western Conference teams, and 2-5 in Tuesday games. The Lakers 7-1 as an underdog of 4.5 points or less, 6-1 as an underdog, 4-1 after a straight up win, and against teams with winning records, 5-2 as a home underdog of 4.5 points or less,  3-7 after a cover, 5-12 against Western Conference teams, 5-13 overall, 3-11 on one day rest, 1-4 in Tuesday games, 2-10 at home, 1-7 after scoring 100 points or more, and 0-7 after allowing 100 points or more.

Much like the Chicago Bulls have done well this season without Derrick Rose, who missed more than 20 games with various injuries, The Lakers have won 4 in a row without Kobe. This is because both Rose and Bryant take so many shots that the other players kind of stand around and wait for the two superstars to create most of the offense. When they aren’t in the line-up the supporting cast has to step up and perform. You would be crazy to say the Bulls and Lakers are better without their superstar franchise players, but it is good for both teams to win without them. I think the Lakers continue their winning streak but it won’t be easy against a Spurs team trying to get the #1 seed.

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