Philadelphia 76'ers (8-21 SU, 11-18 ATS)
I'm sure 76'ers fans are wishing this season would mercifully end even if we are less than halfway home. It has been a season of chewing glass followed by a vinegar chaser for fans and Philly backers alike. And if you have been backing the Sixers with your own hard earned dinero then you and your wallet have my deepest sympathies.
Philadelphia came up short for the ninth time in their last 10 tries as they fell to the Phoenix Suns by the score of 115-101. It was just another example of the 76'ers getting blown out of the building and failing to cover in NBA odds. It was the 13th consecutive road loss for Philadelphia and if it were not for the impressive performance of Thaddeus Young, who dropped in 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four steals, then the score would have been that much uglier.
But perhaps the Sixers will rebound after learning that team scoring leader Evan Turner will be in uniform for Sunday night's meeting with the Lakers. Turner watched the game in civvies last night nursing a bruised right knee but will take his 19.3 PPG scoring average into tonight's affair. However, Turner will need to improve mightily on his most recent performance on December 21st when he scored only 10 points on 2-for-15 shooting which resulted in a 116-106 loss to the Bucks.
LA Lakers (13-17 SU, 17-12-1 ATS)
Things have not been particularly rosy for the Lakers this season and much of that misery has to do with the spate of injuries the team has suffered. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and most recently Pau Gasol are all sidelined with various injuries and maladies though Gasol may be suited up for this meeting tonight against Philadelphia. Los Angeles has lost four consecutive games but covered in their two as 9 ½ home dogs to Miami and 4-point home pups to the Jazz.
Former 76'er Nick Young, who played his first and only season last year with Philly, will get a crack at his former mates. Young has been on a tear recently, averaging almost 21 points per game over his last seven games while shooting nearly 50% from the 3-point line. The Lakers will be depending on Young's contributions if Gasol cannot go and backup center Chris Kaman bows out due to an ankle injury he suffered after collecting a season-high 19 points in Gasol's absence.
Free NBA Pick:
There are times when you're glad that a team is particularly rotten on the road and this is one of those times. The Sixers are hellacious this season no doubt, but with that heinous reputation comes big points by the oddsmakers. Let's not forget, they are still an NBA team who is getting their leading scorer back after a brief absence and over a week's worth of rest due to the timing of the injury vis a vis the schedule. The Lakers on the other hand will be lucky to suit up an entire squad the way the injury bug has bitten them.
If Gasol is out and his backup Chris Kaman is sidelined then the Lakers will be reaching deep into the bench to find someone to fill that role. The Sixers already have an advantage on the glass but that will be magnified if the big boys either can't go or are less than one hundred percent which is a virtual guarantee. Neither team plays much defense anyway but the Sixers actually average more points per game than the Lakers (102.4 vs. 99.4).
I'm going to grab the points here for my NBA picks and wouldn't be shocked if the 76'ers got the outright win.NBA Picks: Philadelphia +7 ½ in your NBA picks at Bet365.com.