NBA Predictions: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns

Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns
Sunday, 2/19/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  FSAZ
Opening Point Spread:  Los Angeles -2.5
Current Betting Line:  Los Angeles -2.5
Opening Total:  189
Current Total:  189.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is leading the NBA in scoring

Los Angeles will finish off a two-game set against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, capturing a 111-99 series win as eight-point home favorites two days ago.  The Lakers were led by star guard Kobe Bryant offensively, scoring a team-high 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting from the floor.  He currently leads the league in scoring 28.9 points per game and has averaged 26.6 points in 48 starts versus the Suns.  Los Angeles is 10-12 ATS as a road favorite of three points or less.

The Lakers have tallied a 6-4 record against the Suns in their last 10 trips to the US Airways Center.  Los Angeles has struggled away from Southern California this year, posting a 5-10 road record, which includes a 3-5 mark versus Western Conference opponents.  There’s no question that the franchise’s focus has switched to defense under first-year head coach Mike Brown, ranking fourth in the league in allowing 90.7 points per game.

Phoenix will look to snap a four-game losing streak and has gone “over” the total in two consecutive games.  The Suns definitely know they must do a better job of controlling Bryant in hopes of gaining revenge.  “Somebody else is going to have to step up to slow him down at least,” stated Suns head coach Alvin Gentry.  The team is 5-8 at home this season and will look to improve upon its 3-3 mark versus Western Conference rivals.  Phoenix is 5-12 ATS when revenging a loss versus an opponent this year and the “under” is 13-4 in that situation.

The Suns have lost four-straight games in this series, but it’s important to note that four of the last five have been played at Staples Center.  Phoenix must get out to a good start against Los Angeles, posting a 10-3 record when leading at the half, which is far different than its 2-16 mark when trailing.  Center Marcin Gortat is the only player on the roster that has started in all 31 games this season.  He has enjoyed playing against the Lakers, averaging 20.3 points and 14.7 rebounds in the last three meetings of the series.

Bettors will likely back the Suns due to their 21-13 ATS mark in February, while the Lakers are 4-11 ATS on the road.

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