Back around Halloween at the start of the NBA season, this matchup sure appeared to have market value. Now the only people interested are those making NBA picks because of the point spread.
Of course a big topic of discussion before the game and in the early parts of the contest will be -The Shove- where LeBron James pushed head coach David Blatt away from continuing an argument with a referee which appeared headed towards a technical foul.
I’m sure most astute observers realized it was nothing, but in today’s world where speculation about everything has a window of opportunity for a comment, this is one more example of goes on today.
I suggest we instead focus on the NBA odds and better use our time to make sports picks for contests like this.
Cleveland Collapsing, Who Will Save Them?
When LeBron said he needed time off to rest his knees and other ailments he talked about, most would have rightfully assumed that meant actual rest, not flying down to South Beach or taking in the college football national championship game because you wanted to.
As it turns out, by all appearances, it was nothing more than a vacation for The King, flying off to wherever he wanted and most likely checking his phone for Cavaliers score updates and seeing they lost seven of eight before he hooked up with them in Phoenix.
You don’t have to be a NBA basketball handicapper to realize LeBron is not emotionally invested in his new team. Maybe he’s disappointed that Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are not playing to the level he expected and his new coach doesn’t quite get life in the NBA, at least according to Mr. James.
LeBron surely understands he’s come back to a more talented squad than when he left with the additions of Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. If LeBron cares about building a team that can win a championship in Cleveland, he starts acting like a leader, to build cohesiveness as the Cavs reboot midstream and demands more of himself and his teammates through his actions instead of his words.
Lakers are Brutal and Situation is Deteriorating
It is hard to say what is worse, Cleveland having lost six in a row and being 1-8 ATS in last nine or the Los Angeles Lakers at 12-27 (20-16-1 ATS) with the third-worst record in the league.
Those following the betting odds and others might have wanted to tune in to TNT tonight at least to watch LeBron and Kobe Bryant for awhile, but even this is no longer a guarantee.
Kobe has missed three of the Lakers last five games and six of 13 and coach Byron Scott has offered Bryant is essentially a game to game decision and could be shutdown for the season.
If you hold Lakers season tickets, having to watch the Purple and Gold is bad enough, but with no Kobe, you might want to see if you can convert those ducats into Clippers tix’s the rest of the season.
As far as tonight’s game, Los Angeles is 26th in shooting percentage and has shot 40 percent or less in seven of their past 15 outings.
Betting Odds and Head to Head
With James back in the fold, sportsbooks have made Cleveland a six-point road favorite. This does have a risky feel to it as the Cavaliers are 5-14 ATS after one or more losses.
The total opened at 203, shot to 205, before coming back to 204.5 and we note Cleveland is 2-10 ATS on the road when the total is 200 or higher. The Lakers after their ugly 78-75 setback to Miami two nights ago are 11-2 OVER after a combined score of 175 points or less.
Not sure what the head to head matchup will mean because these are different teams from the past, nonetheless, the home team is 6-2 SU and ATS since 2010.
After tonight, Cleveland closes out its five-game western road trip back at the Staples Center against the Clippers tomorrow night before heading home where they will play five of the next six on their own floor. The Cavs are 8-13 and 6-15 ATS with a day between games.
With the completion of this contest, Los Angeles will visit Utah, Phoenix, New Orleans and San Antonio over the next week. The Lakers are 11-11-2 ATS with one day off (9-15 SU), losing by 5.5 points per contest.
The latest word is Kobe is likely to play tonight and sit tomorrow in Utah. Though Cleveland has more talent than their opponent this evening, six points sure sounds like a bunch for a team that is slumping as badly as the Cavs. As long as that figure holds, I would be inclined to back the Lakers to cover the spread for my NBA picks, but lose the game.
NBA Free Pick – L.A. Lakers +6