Free NBA Picks Lean On Suns -4.5 vs. Lakers for Tonight

Joe Catalano

Sunday, December 28, 2014 4:25 PM GMT

With a 5 game winning streak and currently residing in the number 8 spot in the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns (17-14) have made a statement that they're a playoff contender. Tonight, they get a cake matchup as the face a Lakers (9-21) team with no defense and more importantly, no Kobe Bryant. See who we like as our betting pick.

Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 9:30 pm ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This game can be seen on TWC SN.

 

Kobe Bryant Listed As Probable
SBR's live NBA odds are up in the air as Phoenix is a 4.5 point betting favorite but the real deciding factor is the status of Kobe Bryant. Bryant, despite missing a bunch of games, has put up more shots than any other player in the NBA and is shooting under 40% from the field despite averaging 24.6 points per game; this is very "un-Kobe-like". 

The injury report has Bryant listed as probable due to soreness, but in reality, the man is just burnt out.

How Will Kobe Bryant Fare this NBA Season with the Lakers?

He's played in the NBA since he was 18 years old, which is half of his life, and has played in numerous post-seasons on championship runs. In essence, he's played a lot longer than 18 years in the NBA and we also have to remember that the Lakers offense has always went through him. That said, if Kobe plays, he will be monitored. If the Suns run away with a lead, Byron Scott might decide to sit Bryant down early. If Kobe Bryant plays, I expect a solid effort out of him, but will it be enough against a Suns team with tons of energy?

 

Young Legs
The Suns haven't played since Friday. They defeated the Sacramento Kings 115-106. From watching this team, they are a high energy team with a lot of young and up and coming players. This is a very deep team with no definitive superstar, but any starter on this team is capable of putting up 20 points on the Lakers including Marcus Morris and Isaiah Thomas. The only negative that I see at this point is the production of Goran Dragic has dropped off since last season. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because it affords other players opportunities that they normally wouldn't have.

 

Alex Len
While the Phoenix Suns have relied on the offense of Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris, their draft pick of Alex Len is finally starting to pay off.

Phoenix has never had a legitimate center and now Len is starting to emerge as the center of the future for the Suns.

In his last 2 games, the 7 foot 1, 255 pound big man is averaging 13.5 points and 9 rebounds. Although it's a short sampling, numbers aside, he's become much more of an overall presence on the court and a major reason why the Suns have been on this 5 game winning streak. Look for Len to become more confident. The Lakers defense is like Swiss Cheese. I could see the big man providing another double-digit point effort and making his presence be felt.

 

A Major Question Mark
One player who has always been baffling to me is Carlos Boozer. When he was with the Bulls, he would have big games and then would sit on the bench for the entire 4th quarter. Now, Boozer is starting to pick up his play, averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds in just 22.8 minutes per game in his last 5 games. Even though his defense is suspect, Boozer always appears to get taken out of games when he's playing well. His free throw shooting is poor and his defense is poor, but this league is full of a bunch of guys like James Harden that play little to no defense. 

I expect Boozer to play well, but in limited action. Los Angeles can use all of the help that they can get as they allow 109 points per game and possess player like Jeremy Lin who are overpaid and turnover machines.

 

Outcome
Kobe or no Kobe, this game is comprised of two teams going in completely opposite directions. When making your NBA picks today keep in mind the Lakers don't have the teamwork and overall offense to compete with the run and gun Suns. 

Free NBA Picks: Bet Phoenix -4.5 at 5Dimes

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