Pro Basketball Predictions: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns

Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns
Friday, 10/30/10, 10:30 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Los Angeles -4.5
Current Betting Line:  Los Angeles -5
Opening Total:  212
Current Total:  210

The Phoenix Suns are listed as five-point home underdogs against the Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals

Los Angeles rallied back in a game that it trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half to pick up a 112-110 home victory over the Houston Rockets on opening night.  The Lakers also received their championship rings on this night in a celebration of the franchise’s 16th title.  “The ring ceremony is so special,” said Lakers guard Shannon Brown.  “It’s history.  It’s something that nobody can ever take away.”  One team that the club faced on its way to another NBA title was the Phoenix Suns, winning the Western Conference Finals in six games, with star Kobe Bryant averaging 33.7 points and 8.3 assists in that series.  “We beat them in the playoffs last year,” said Bryant.  “They used to kick our butt all the time in the playoffs.”  Los Angeles is 16-16 ATS when playing with two days rest and the NBA odds page has them listed as a five-point favorite.

The Lakers are 34-16 in road openers since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season, picking up a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder last year.  Los Angeles is 12-2 in its last 14 such games and has won five straight.  Newcomer Steve Blake already made a big splash in his first action as a Laker, hitting a go-ahead shot with 18 seconds left over Houston.  The bench will be relied upon heavily in the early going as Bryant regains strength in his surgically repaired right knee, but he did manage to play 37 minutes in the opener.  “I feel good,” he said after the game.

Phoenix bounced back from a tough opening night in Portland and tallied a 110-94 road victory over the Utah Jazz last night.  It was a surprising result due to Utah’s perfect preseason record that included two victories over the Suns.  “It’s very early.  We didn’t play so well in the preseason.  Utah beat us twice and we just couldn’t get a rhythm, couldn’t get in a comfort zone,” said forward Grant Hill.  The Suns backcourt of Steve Nash and Jason Richardson outscored the Utah duo of Deron Willams and Raja Bell 34-20 in the contest.  It was an all-around team effort with six players scoring between 18 and 11 points.  Phoenix is 50-38 ATS at home the past two years.

The Suns will be aiming for playoff revenge in this contest and also defeating the Lakers at the US Airways Center for the first time since December 28, 2009.  Opposing head coach Phil Jackson knows that Phoenix remains dangerous even without forward Amare Stoudemire.  “The combination of Stoudemire and Nash has been great in the last few years, so that will need a little timing,” he commented.  “But this will be a good team, Phoenix will be a real good team.”  Hakim Warrick did his best to fill those shoes last night by scoring 18 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the home team is 9-3 ATS in this series and the Suns finished the 2009-10 season on a 19-6-1 ATS run at home.

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