NBA Game Previews
The Lakers have the best home record in the West, but they have lost two in a row and face a streaking Jazz team that has won three straight.
Utah Jazz (50-26) at L.A. Lakers (54-21)
Bovada has the Lakers as 5 point favorites in this game with a total of 204.5.
Tonight in La La Land the defending champion L.A. Lakers host the Utah Jazz. The Lakers should snag the top-spot in the West, as they have a 4.5 game cushion over the second place Utah Jazz. Every remaining game is important for the Jazz, as they are tied for second with Dallas and only ½ game ahead of Phoenix and one game ahead of Denver.
This season the Lakers are 32-5 at home and 31-42-2 ATS and the Jazz are 19-18 on the road and 47-26-3 ATS.
In their last games the Lakers lost to the Atlanta Hawks 109-92 on Wednesday night and the Jazz beat the Golden State Warriors also on Wednesday night.
The Lakers have won 13 straight games at home over the Jazz.
The reason the Lakers have struggled lately is their defense, which has given up over 100 points in their last three games. The Lakers will have to suck it up on defense tonight, as the Jazz have averaged just over 110 ppg in their last 11 games.
Kobe Bryant (27.2 ppg) will get his points tonight, but he will need some help on offense from Pau Gasol (17.6 ppg), Lamar Odom (10.5 ppg), and Ron Artest (11.2 ppg). The Jazz can’t stop Kobe, nobody can, but if they can keep the other Lakers from having big scoring games they will be in good shape.
The Lakers really need to worry about Jazz PF Carlos Boozer (19.6 ppg 11.2 rpg), who is averaging 24.3 ppg and shooting 78.6% in his last three games. L.A. can’t allow him to score easy buckets in the paint or dominate the boards.
Deron Williams (18.3 ppg) had 19 assists in Utah’s last win and he will have to spread the offense around tonight and have a solid scoring game. He needs to shoot the rock well from the outside to open up the lane.
If the Jazz snap their losing streak in L.A. it will give them a ton of confidence heading into the playoffs.
L.A. is only 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite of 0.5-4.5.
Saturday NBA Odds
Charlotte Bobcats at Chicago Bulls
This game is huge, as there is not many games left in the regular season and the Bobcats hold the seventh position in the East and the Bulls hold the ninth position. Chicago is two games behind Toronto for the eighth and last playoff spot and four back of Charlotte.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks
As of Friday the Mavs are tied with the Jazz for the second spot in the West. The Thunder hold the sixth spot in the West only trailing Dallas and Utah by three games and only ahead of seventh place Portland and San Antonio by one game.
Sunday Big Games
Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics
The Cavs have already wrapped up the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and while Boston will make the playoffs every game is important for them. The Celtics trail the Atlanta Hawks by one game for the third spot in the East, which they would like to snag so they would avoid playing the Cavs in a possible second round playoff series.
San Antonio Spurs at L.A. Lakers
The Spurs are tied with the Portland Trailblazers for the eighth and last playoff spot in the West. If they can’t pass Portland and end up in eighth they will, likely, be facing the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.