Golden State Warriors are 18-point favorites on NBA odds with a total of 209 points as they face the LA Lakers. About the only comparable item between these two are that they both play in California.
Warriors In Cruise Control
Golden State (52-13) could go into shutdown mode soon as the Warriors are going to be the top seed in the Western Conference. Coach Steve Kerr did rest four key guys in Friday's 114-103 defeat at Denver in Steph Curry, the possible league MVP, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala. Look for Kerr to do that at times down the stretch, mostly in road games. Coaches generally won't at home because they don't want to anger the fan base that pays for season tickets.
The Warriors bounced back from that Nuggets loss with a 125-94 blowout of the Knicks on Saturday when all the guys were back. Curry had 25 points and 11 assists on his 27th birthday and Thompson 27 points as Golden State won its eighth straight at home. The Warriors scored 47 points in the second quarter (Knicks 25) shooting 18-for-23 (.783) from the field. It was the Warriors’ highest-scoring quarter this season and the most the team has scored in a quarter since Nov. 2, 1991 vs. Sacramento. It also was the Warriors' 14th win this season by at least 20 points, tying a franchise record for such games set in 1963-64.
Lakers Care More About Draft Lottery
Every loss suffered by the Lakers (17-48) is a good thing as they attempt to get the most ping-pong balls possible in the draft lottery. L.A. currently has the fourth-worst record in the NBA and it's looking more and more like it will stay there as the Lakers are 2.5 games "behind" Philadelphia for the third-worst record and 2.5 games "ahead" or Orlando for the fifth-worst. L.A. needs to have a draft pick in the Top 5 or that pick heads to Philadelphia (via Phoenix). I don't think that will be an issue.
Los Angeles has lost two straight and seven of eight. I suppose if there's a bright spot in that it's every loss has been by single digits. The Lakers played relatively well in Sunday's 91-86 home loss to the Eastern Conference's best team (record-wise), 91-86. How far has the Lakers' franchise fallen? The Hawks decided to rest starters Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap (Kyle Korver also left early with a broken nose). It used to be that teams were fired up to play in L.A. and in front of all those movie stars in the crowd. The loss ended an eight-game home winning streak against the Hawks. The Lakers again played without Nick Young, and he will have a CT scan on Monday that no doubt rules him out for the season.
Before placing your NBA picks, understand that the Lakers are 30-31-4 against the spread and 29-34-2 'over/under.'
Predictably, the Warriors won the first two matchups against Los Angeles this season in blowout, high-scoring fashion. However, the Lakers pulled one of the biggest upsets of the season on Dec. 23 at home, beating Golden State 115-105 even though a then-healthy Kobe Bryant sat out for rest. "We weren't ready to play," Kerr said. indeed they weren't. The Lakers shot 51.7 percent from the field, seven guys scored in double figures and L.A. forced 19 Warriors turnovers. That snapped a five-game losing streak for Los Angeles in the series. Last year marked the first time that the Lakers dropped a season series to Golden State since the 1994-95 season.
I'm assuming that Kerr plays all his guys here, but I think this is a bit of a look-ahead game in that the Warriors will be more focused on Wednesday's potential NBA Finals preview against Atlanta. Thus I'm taking the 18 points here even though there's no question Golden State will win. Also go 'over' the total. The Lakers are 7-0 ATS in their past seven after a loss. The Warriors are 1-8 ATS in their past nine against teams with a losing record. The 'over' is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings.
NBA Free Picks: Lakers +18 & Over at Pinnacle