Warriors vs. Lakers NBA Picks & Predictions

Jason Lake

Friday, November 22, 2013 12:45 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 12:45 PM GMT

The Golden State Warriors may be three games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division, but as far as the NBA lines are concerned, these two California rivals are dead even.

Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to November 20 inclusive:

6-10 ATS

1-1 Totals

It was a bumpy ride to begin with, but now that we’re a dozen games or so into the 2013-14 NBA regular season, things are starting to smooth out. Teams who we thought would be excellent are rising to the top, like the Golden State Warriors, who are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers at 8-4 for first place in the Pacific Division at press time. As for that other team in L.A., the Lakers are scuffling along as predicted at 5-7.

Two different franchises heading in different directions, perhaps, but it’s all the same to the NBA betting market. Each team is 6-5-1 ATS as they prepare to meet Friday night (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Staples Center. NBA odds on this matchup were pending, but the Lakers should enjoy the betting advantage, having been idle since Sunday. The Warriors last played on Wednesday.

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Moving Screens

It hasn’t been easy to pin down either of these teams thus far. The Warriors started the season 4-1-1 ATS, but have gone 2-4 ATS since then. Even with their totals, they went OVER twice, then UNDER four times, then OVER three times, then UNDER three times. Frustrating stuff. Otherwise, they’re playing brilliant basketball; the Dubs were fourth in defensive efficiency (95.0 points allowed per 100 possessions) going into Thursday’s action, and eighth in offensive efficiency (103.9 points/100). Golden State’s plus-6.8 points differential is fourth in the NBA and second only to the San Antonio Spurs (plus-9.5) in the Western Conference.

The Lakers have been equally slippery thus far. They have yet to string together more than two wins or losses, either SU or ATS, and their totals are about as consistent as Ebenezer Scrooge’s gruel (Happy Holidays!). This makes complete sense when you look at their roster. Coach Mike D’Antoni has tried just about every possible combination of five players, hoping to find some magic while Kobe Bryant is rehabbing his torn Achilles.

With Bryant out of commission, and Steve Nash (back) joining him on the sidelines, the Lakers offense has fallen to No. 24 in the league in efficiency (98.2 points/100), while the defense is treading water at No. 18 overall (102.1 points allowed/100). But maybe, just maybe, D’Antoni has hit on something now that Nash in unavailable. His most recent shuffle, with center Jordan Hill (25.1 PER) and SG Jodie Meeks (16.1 PER) in the starting rotation, has L.A. at 2-2 SU and 2-1-1 ATS in the past four games. The OVER is 3-1 with said rotation in place.

Judge Dread

Yes, you read that right: Jordan Hill has a 25.1 PER after 12 games. That’s eighth in the NBA as we go to press, three spots ahead of Warriors PG Stephen Curry (24.4 PER). The Player Efficiency Rating doesn’t measure defense well, but c’mon. Hill is putting up 17.9 points and 14.5 rebounds per 36 minutes, including 5.7 offensive rebounds. In Sunday’s 114-99 thrashing of the Detroit Pistons (–2.5 at home), Hill had a career game with 24 points and 17 boards.

This explosion may seem like it came from nowhere, but that’s only because Hill has been largely overlooked – aside from his hairstyle – since he was drafted eighth overall by the New York Knicks in 2009, where he was immediately buried behind David Lee and Jared Jeffries on D’Antoni’s depth chart. Then Hill was shipped off to the Houston Rockets before landing in L.A. last year, where he played 29 games (with an 18.5 PER) until he suffered a hip injury that ended his regular season.

It’s far too early to put Hill on the All-Star team, but it would make even less sense for NBA betting fans to write off his recent production as a fluke. I’m going with the hot hand in this matchup.

NBA Pick: Take the Lakers 

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