NBA Picks: Hornets vs. Lakers

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:49 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 3:49 PM GMT

Things are starting to finally click for the Los Angeles Lakers (19-25), who are currently on a 2 game winning streak. With a very winnable game tonight against the New Orleans Hornets (15-29), could the Lakers run for the playoffs start here?

Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 pm ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This game can also be seen on NBA TV.

The NBA odds makers currently list the Lakers as an 8 point favorite and the total for the game is 195.

The Lakers are coming off of a confidence building win over the OKC Thunder on Sunday. Let’s take a look and see if we should include them with our NBA Picks.

[gameodds]5/141785/43/us[/gameodds]

Choosing to Defer

Maybe this is the missing ingredient in Kobe Bryant’s game on a team with many  underachieving superstars. Along with 21 points and 9 rebounds, Bryant collected a game high 14 assists as the Lakers worked as a unit and managed to shock the Oklahoma City Thunder at home, 105-96.

Pau Gasol, who hasn’t had a defined role all season, found his nitch in this game and Steve Nash finally provided the offensive that’s been lacking in his game this season.

At this point, the Lakers aren’t thinking about positioning themselves in the playoffs, but instead must focus on improving their standing in the Western Conference simply to secure their ticket into the post season all together.

Lost

The positive attitude is there from superstar, Dwight Howard, but I’m still not buying it.

While his teammates excelled against the Thunder, Howard was plagued by foul trouble and had another sub-par effort. Plain and simple, this is a player that needs to be shooting more than 7 shots per game.

Howard is used to being a leader and doesn’t know how to co-exist being “a role player”. His numbers suggest that he’s more than a role player, but the Lakers can’t win with him playing a primary role and his inability to co-exist with Kobe Bryant. Bryant doesn’t stand for nonsense, and 2 for 10 from the free throw line won’t endear Dwight to the Black Mamba.

Nonetheless, the Los Angeles Lakers have an inferior team to face in the New Orleans Hornets, but the Hornets have played well and are coming off of a big win over Memphis.

The Grind of the NBA

After everyone was praising the exceptional play of point guard, Greivis Vasquez, he’s been slumping mightily in his last couple of games. Vasquez has had an exceptional season while trying to keep this young team afloat. He couldn’t have picked a worst time to start playing poorly.

In his last 2 games, Vasquez has shot an abysmal 3 of 22 from the field and has averaged just 3.5 points per game. He’s still managed to keep other players involved and that’s what winning players do when their shot isn’t falling.

Facing off against Steve Nash, Vasquez will have a substantial size and youth advantage. This might be his opportunity to bounce back under the Hollywood lights.

Former Teammates Face Eachother

Nobody would’ve expected it, but Ryan Anderson has been a lot more effective for his team than Dwight Howard has for the Lakers.

Anderson comes off the bench, but ignites the Hornets with his ability to shoot from long range at 6 foot 10. Anderson leads the Hornets in scoring and has been on fire as of late. In his last 5 games, Anderson is averaging 20.6 points and 5.2 rebounds on 50 % shooting from the field. Expect a big game out of Ryan Anderson as he’s a big money player.

Trends

Hornets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games

Hornets are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall

The Underdog is 19-9 ATS in the last 28 meetings

Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games

Lakers are 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a winning % under .400.

Outcome

I’m totally ignoring the trends here. Greivis Vasquez is the backbone of the Hornets and he hasn’t been the same while Los Angeles is finally starting to get into a groove. Lay the points with LA.

NBA Picks: Lakers -8

To find out whu another capper is also backing the Lakers tonight, be sure to read our NBA Picks: Tuesday Night Value Plays article.

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