The Los Angeles Lakers played the Western Conference’s best team, the Memphis Grizzlies, close on Wednesday night at home, but they didn’t get the result they wanted. The Lakers had been giving up a lot of points this season, but they held Memphis under 100. It still wasn’t enough. Can the Lakers bounce back and handle Minnesota on Friday night? They’re a home favorite on the NBA betting lines.
The Minnesota Timberwolves Can Win Because…
They're playing a team that has stalled after winning consecutive games last week. The Lakers had won consecutive games against Atlanta and Houston on the road, beating two good teams and offering the possibility that a real turnaround was in evidence. However, the Lakers have fallen flat since then, getting blown out by Dallas last Friday and then losing a pair of tough defensive games at home to Denver and Memphis; which is something you should consider when looking at the NBA odds.The losses to Dallas and Memphis, two very good teams that are likely to compete for the Western Conference championship in the playoffs next spring, are completely understandable. Losing to Denver, on the other hand, is a real head-scratcher, and what’s especially mind-blowing about that loss is that the Lakers scored only 11 points in the fourth quarter of that game. Just a half-decent fourth quarter against Denver would have led to a win, but the Lakers couldn’t do that. This team has fallen off the pace and is struggling in a huge way on offense. The stats say the Lakers are averaging over 101 points per game, putting them in the upper half of a 30-team league (13th), but Los Angeles has been absolutely horrible the past week on offense. Minnesota could get healthy against this kind of opponent, and it’s worth noting that the Lakers – even with solid defensive performances against Denver and Memphis – are still last in the league in scoring defense. They’re 26th in assists per game. They’re 20th in the league in rebounding. They’re just not good at much of anything right now.
The Los Angeles Lakers Can Win Because…
Their opponent just might be worse than they are, even though the Lakers are in fact 3-12 while Minnesota is 3-10. The Timberwolves got blown out at home by the Milwaukee Bucks the other night. That’s a sobering and humiliating event for an NBA team this season. The Timberwolves actually have a worse average point differential than the Lakers. Minnesota is minus-9.8 points, while the Lakers are minus-9.4 points. You’ve seen how poorly the Lakers rate in the league in various statistical categories. The Timberwolves are not much better: 29th in scoring defense, 20th in assists, 23rd in rebounding, and slightly worse on offense at 16th. The Lakers might be 3-7 in their last 10 games, but the Timberwolves are 2-8. Going solely on the most recent games for each team, with the Lakers narrowly losing to Memphis and Minnesota being wiped out by Milwaukee, you’d have to like the Lakers’ chances here.
The Lakers are bad but the Timberwolves are currently worse. Minnesota has lost eight of nine while giving up at least 99 points in each of those games (average of 114.8). Take the Lakers with your NBA picks. They should defend well and earn an ugly but effective victory.
Free NBA Pick: L.A. Lakers