The Lakers put up a good fight last night against LeBron and the Cavs, but now they have to play again tonight, this time on the road against the Jazz. Who should we favor with our sports picks?
It's not like the Jazz have been doing well this season, but they still find themselves as reasonably heavy favorites for tonight's home game against the Lakers.
Checking out the NBA Odds , we see Utah laying either 7 or 7.5 points, while the total is trading at 196.5. The Lakers may be horrendous defensively, but the Jazz have been playing at a slow pace this season, so that would explain why the total isn't all that high this evening.
The Jazz, who are at 13-26 overall this season, come in having lost three consecutive games. That being said, just check out the teams they played: they lost on the road to Oklahoma City and Houston and then dropped a game at home to Golden State - those are three of the most talented teams in the NBA.
Against the Warriors a couple days ago, the Jazz were hanging around until a big third quarter from Stephen Curry and company. Utah got outscored 44-27 in that frame, and from there it was hard for them to get back in the game. As a team, the Jazz shot a solid 48.1 percent from the floor - Derrick Favors led the way with 22 points and 11 rebounds - but they struggled majorly on the defensive side of things and that was their downfall.
Will we see a positive response from Utah at home against a vastly weaker team in the Lakers? Most likely, but it should be noted that the Jazz haven't been too good at home this season. Coming in, they're 6-12 on their own floor, which is a far cry from the old days when Utah was so damn difficult to beat in Salt Lake City.
Los Angeles Lakers
Just like Utah, the Lakers will take a three-game losing streak into tonight's contest. LA, however, was in action last night, as they fell at home to the Cavaliers despite a valiant effort all around. Days after losing by just three to Miami, the Lakers once again gave a good fight, only to lose by seven (109-102) to LeBron and friends.
Kobe Bryant was in the starting lineup for LA and was excellent, piling up 19 points, 17 assists (a career high) and six rebounds - he also only had three turnovers. Jordan Hill had 20 points and six boards, while Nick Young put up 14 points (on 13 shots) off the bench for the Lakers, who shot 51.3 percent from the floor overall.
The Black Mamba has already been ruled out for tonight's game, meaning it'll be up to the rest of the motley crew to band together to try and end this losing streak. Young, Wesley Johnson and Wayne Ellington figure to pick up more offensive responsibilty, but it's going to take a team effort to get the best of a motivated Utah team in this spot.
Kobe being out doesn't scare us. In all actuality, the Lakers have seemingly played better basketball without him on the floor, as the ball gets moved around a lot more and everyone has to step up their play a little bit.
That's making us think the value here is more than decent on LA up against a Jazz team that's done little to show us they deserve to be 7.5-point favorites, regardless of whether or not they're at home. Now, if they were playing the Knicks, maybe that'd be a different story, but the Lakers have actually been battling and keeping games close recently.
With their "star" out, look for others to elevate their game and help LA keep this one close. We think the underdogs are the NBA Pick in this huge Friday NBA slate - best of luck!
NBA Pick LA Lakers +7.5 at 5Dimes