Both teams are entering this game off losses suffered on Friday night but which club will be ready to go and cover the number in NBA odds tonight?
LA Lakers (10-12 SU, 12-9-1 ATS)
If you expected Kobe Bryant to don his Superman cape and lead the Lakers to greatness then you have had a reality check in a big way. Bryant has averaged 11 points per game since he returned and all three games have not only been losses but blown covers in NBA odds. Last night was a weak performance by not only Kobe, who ended the evening with only four points, but the entire team as LA got blown out 122-97 by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Lakers to their credit have managed to stay within striking distance of .500 which is no small feat considering the injuries they have sustained this season. Kobe Bryant had been out all season nursing an Achilles injury until returning earlier in the week but now LA's MASH unit is filled with the likes of Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar and the latest casualty being Steve Blake who tore a ligament in his right elbow which will sideline him for at least six weeks.
Now just to add to the fun, Pau Gasol is voicing his displeasure and levying criticism that he's not being used properly. Head coach Mike D'Antoni dutifully fired back and basically said Gasol is not trying hard enough. One might tend to side with the coach when noting that Gasol is shooting a career low 42.3% from the floor this season.
Charlotte Bobcats (10-13 SU, 14-8-1 ATS)
The Bobcats have been playing most of the season without their big body in the middle Brendan Haywood but the loss they suffered a week and a half ago will be more difficult to swallow. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, is out for the foreseeable future with a fractured left hand.
Since Gilchrist has been gone the Bobcats are 2-2 but have dropped their last pair, including a hard fought battle with the NBA's best, the Indiana Pacers. Last night the Cats played even with the Pacers on their home court but eventually wilted and dropped a 99-94 decision yet got the cover in NBA odds as 12 ½ point road dogs. But losing to Indiana has become routine for the Bobcats. Despite Al Jefferson's 21 points and 9 rebounds, Charlotte continued a streak of futility against the Pacers by dropping their eighth straight game in Indiana, dating all the way back to 2008.
Charlotte has been strong on defense this season, holding their opposition to a paltry 92.7 points per game. However their offense could use more than a little work. The Cats are averaging only 90.6 PPG, good (or bad as the case may be) for 29th in the league. Aside from Big Al Jefferson and team scoring leader Kemba Walker, the Bobcats cannot seem to get the other players on board to complement that offensive component.
Free NBA Pick:
Last season these two teams met twice with LA earning straight up wins in both but splitting in NBA odds. Prior to last season's 100-93 loss at home to the Lakers on February 8th, the Bobcats had won three consecutive home contests versus LA. Kobe Bryant dropped 20 on the Cats that night and has averaged 28.7 PPG against Charlotte throughout his career, his highest average against any team.
However, raise your hand if you don't see Kobe scoring his average tonight? I see your hand is raised as is mine. This is just another reminder that this Lakers squad will be vastly different from the one that the Bobcats are accustomed to seeing. Kobe is still working the rust off his game and getting back into basketball shape while the team surrounding him consists of spare parts forced to become vital cogs.
We know Charlotte doesn't score much but LA doesn't stop much, currently ranked 29th in points allowed. Look for Charlotte to school the Lakers tonight for your NBA picks.
NBA Picks: Bobcats -3 at Bet365.com