NBA bettors & fans alike wonder: Will Kobe play? Will he be rested? That remains to be seen, but either way it's hard to see the Lakers keeping up with the Suns tonight.
The NBA odds are out and, to no one's surprise, the Suns are favored by double digits. They're giving away 10 points to the Lakers this evening.
A high total should be expected between these two pure offense-driven teams, and that's exactly what we've gotten. Sportsbooks have listed an O/U of 214.5, though 214 can also be found here and there.
Since they're 6-2 over their last eight, the Suns shouldn't be taken lightly, and that's one of the main reasons they're laying such a big number tonight. Phoenix has been playing well, with a highlight win over Toronto (and one over Cleveland), proving it just hasn't been because of a cupcake schedule.
The Suns have also had the entire weekend off after a Friday night win over the Timberwolves. In the 110-99 win at home, Phoenix shot an awesome 55.2 percent from the floor overall, with five different players hitting double figures for the hosts. Goran Dragic had 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds, while Gerald Green came through with 19 points off the bench. This run of recent good form has the Suns at 24-18 overall this season.
One of the best parts about Phoenix is you never really know who it's going to be that steps up on any given night. More often than not it's Eric Bledsoe, who's been outstanding out on the perimeter, but this is a team that has a lot of good scorers, like Dragic, Markieff Morris, Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green, etc. The results? The Suns are ranked third in the NBA in points per game, and as such are always in a good position to cover massive spreads.
Los Angeles Lakers
Losers of four in a row, the Lakers' miserable season has continued, even not gotten more and more embarrassing by the day. It looks like the franchise has already settled on tanking for the rest of the season, which is the reason we're seeing all of these Kobe Bryant shutdown rumors. When on the court, few are better, but why risk your huge investment when you're just trying to lose anyway?
Whatever the case may be, LA has been a team to avoid throughout the season, and that's not a situation that seems likely to change. Kobe will play here and there (if not get shut down), and he'll play well, and the Lakers will have their once-in-a-while positive games, but for the most part we've been wise enough to stay away.
Ronnie Price is out tonight, meaning Jeremy Lin will main the point. He's been disappointing as a Lakers, and this may be one of his few remaining opportunities to showcase his stuff.
We're going to lay another huge number in this spot.
The Lakers are one of the few teams we've tried to stay as far away from as possible, and it seems to be working out for the most part. They're a complete mess and it's hard to see it getting much better, considering LA is already considering shutting down Kobe in preparation for next season - remember, it's only January, so the Lakers calling it quits this early is telling.
On the other end of the spectrum, you've got a team that actually needs to win, and that's the Suns. They're right in the thick of things in terms of the playoff race, and they'll be at home against the league's worst defense in the Lakers. This one should end in a Phoenix blowout, so we'll ride with the favorites as our NBA picks once more here on MLK Day.
Free NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns -10 at The Greek