NBA Predictions: New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers

New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers
Thursday, 12/29/11, 10:30 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Los Angeles -4.5
Current Betting Line:  Los Angeles -4
Opening Total:  199
Current Total:  195
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Lakers Nuggets NBA Game Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers have won eight straight against the New York Knicks heading into Thursday night's contest

New York heads to Los Angeles to complete its first back-to-back of the season and comes off a 92-78 loss to the Golden State Warriors as six-point road favorites.  The Knicks were unable to build upon the momentum they created after tallying a 106-104 home win over the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day.  “I’m not making any excuses, but we’re a young team that’s coming together and we have to build,” commented Knicks center Tyson Chandler.  The franchise will look to earn its first win against Los Angeles since Feb. 13, 2007.  New York is 14-9 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus years.

The Knicks will lean heavily on the play of forward Amare Stoudemire in this particular contest, as he averaged 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds over 34 minutes in two games against the Lakers last season.  New York will conclude its West Coast trip in playing in Sacramento on New Year’s Eve.  It’s important to note that the team’s current eight-game losing streak against tonight’s opponent is its longest current skid against any NBA team.

Los Angeles snapped its two-game losing streak to open the season by tallying a 96-71 blowout win over the Utah Jazz as 5.5-point home favorites on Tuesday night.  The Lakers limited the Jazz to 29-of-90 from the field, while all three of their games have gone ‘under’ the total thus far in the 2011-12 campaign.  “The focus, the energy, the effort, that communication and trust that we brought defensively, was exciting to see,” commented Lakers first-year head coach Mike Brown.  Los Angeles is 9-7 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus years.

The Lakers swept last year’s series with the Knicks and are 59-26 all-time when playing host in this exciting matchup.  Los Angeles will certainly want to get the ball into the hands of center Pau Gasol, who is averaging 20.4 points and 11.6 rebounds in his past five games versus the Knicks.  Kobe Bryant has also gone off recently when playing tonight’s opponent, scoring 34.1 points per game since the 2007-08 season, which is the most for the veteran against any team in that time frame.

Bettors will likely back the Lakers due to their 4-1 ATS mark in the last five meetings, while the Knicks are 0-6 ATS versus the NBA’s Pacific division.

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