NBA Picks: Kings vs. Lakers
Where is the value in this matchup tonight?
Sacramento Kings (4-8 SU, 3-8-1 ATS)
Had the Kings not come out flat in the first quarter of last night's game against the Clippers, there's a very good chance that their most recent loss would have been a colossal victory for the struggling club. Sacramento was tagged as 11 point underdogs in NBA odds.
last evening and it looked like they were headed for a straight up win after rallying from a 20-point deficit but LA had a different idea and hung on for a 103-102 decision.
The Kings return to the Staples Center tonight to face off against the ailing LA Lakers. If they want the outcome to be different they will have to improve their first-quarter performance. Last night they were outscored 29-13 in the opening frame which is even far lower than their underwhelming average of 22.6 on the season and an anemic 19.8 when on the road.
Sacramento has lost three of their last four games to the Lakers and have had no success against them at the Staples Center where they have lost by scores of 113-102 as 8 ½ point underdogs and prior to that they bowed 103-90 as 10 ½ point pups. Both games were not only losses but failed covers in NBA odds.
The Lakers are without aging superstars Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash but are nevertheless looking for their third consecutive victory and one that will put them at .500 on the season. Lakers fans have to be pleased with their most recent outings as they won their last two outright as underdogs against both the Warriors and Pistons.
Pao Gasol netted 24 points against the Warriors but his team leading average is a mere 13.8 points per game which is the lowest for team leaders in the NBA. Despite that, the Lakers are 15th in the league in scoring and 7th in assists which clearly illustrates their focus on ball distribution this season due to the fact that they no longer have a superstar to take the lead and make it rain buckets on the opposition.
The Lakers Achilles heel has actually been Kobe's Achilles heel but aside from that, they have had a miserable time stopping opponents from scoring. They currently rank 25th in that category, allowing 103.2 PPG but over their past three games they have clamped down on defense and neither the Grizzlies, Warriors nor the Pistons tallied 100 points, with two of those three games resulting in wins for the Lakers.
Both the home team and the favorite is 4-1 over the five meetings between the two clubs and it just so happens the Lakers fit both criteria tonight. Factor in that while the Lakers were relaxing on Saturday night the Kings were locked in a death struggle that they ultimately lost.
The fact is DeMarcus Cousins is the Kings Mr. Everything. He leads the team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks but the Lakers have bought completely into the team concept and the results have been better than expected considering Bryant's been in civvies all season while Nash has been in and out of the lineup with one ailment or another.
The Lakers are clicking, they have owned Sacramento recently and there is no reason why this shouldn't be a good, solid team victory for the purple and gold.