Free NBA Picks: Take Pacers as Home Favorite Against Lakers

David Lawrence

Monday, December 15, 2014 12:50 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 12:50 PM UTC

The Los Angeles Lakers just won one of the rare games they’ll play this season against a team with a worse record. The Lake Show now gets to play another such game against the Indiana Pacers. Will the Lakers be able to put together yet another winning performance on the road? They’re a five-point road dog in Indiana.

The Los Angeles Lakers Can Win Because…
Their opponent is in freefall. The Pacers are 1-9 in their last 10 games. They’ve lost eight games in a row. The Pacers have failed to score 100 points in regulation in each of those eight games. They’ve failed to score more than 96 points in regulation in six of those eight games. The Pacers are simply without answers on offense in a season in which they don’t have Lance Stephenson or Paul George. The talk in Indianapolis is that the team might be on the verge of re-acquiring Stephenson from the Charlotte Hornets. The situation is that bad for the Pacers, who just can’t get anything going and are falling farther behind in the standings, removed from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Lakers, on the other hand, are playing their very best basketball of the season. They’ve won three games in a row for the first time all season. They did beat a lowly Minnesota team on Sunday, but they also beat the Sacramento Kings in the middle of the week, and they took down the San Antonio Spurs on the road on Friday night, winning in overtime after blowing a fourth-quarter lead. Few people gave the Lakers much of a chance in that overtime period, much as few people gave them a chance to win the game in the first place. Nick Young is hitting big shots for the Lakers, and Kobe Bryant feels good about his game, having passed Michael Jordan for third on the all-time NBA scoring list. There’s a lot to like about the Lakers’ chances in this game.

The Indiana Pacers Can Win Because…
They're going to win again at some point, and this is a good spot for them. The recent streaks suggest that the Lakers will win, but the Pacers have been losing a lot of games to good teams. Their last four losses have come to the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, and Portland Trail Blazers. All four of those teams are in NBA odds at least nine games above .500 if not better. The Pacers should have a much better time defending the Lakers and containing their offense. Indiana is outgunned in most of its games, but it is rarely if ever outworked under head coach Frank Vogel. The Pacers will be intent on stopping their streak, and even though the Lakers are not a good team, they still present a target because of Kobe’s presence more than anything else.

The other reason the Pacers are in a good spot is that the Lakers are playing the second end of a back-to-back set. The Pacers had Sunday off and should be ready to get back to work against an opponent working through a grueling Midwestern road trip.

The Lakers are playing better ball, but the Pacers are more rested and have been playing elite teams. Indiana is going to beat a bad team at home sooner or later, and the Lakers are the perfect mark. Take the Pacers with your NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick: Indiana -5 at 5Dimes

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