The Los Angeles Lakers still have a losing record under Mike D’Antoni and the coach needs to finally figure out a way to accommodate his four stars or risk the embarrassment of missing out on the play-offs.
The Lakers have won just two of their last seven games, coming up short against powerhouses San Antonio, Miami and Oklahoma City while earning meagre scraps with victories over lowly Milwaukee and Cleveland. They’ll try and pick off another fellow struggler today when they visit Toronto, with the Raptors mired in a four-game losing streak.
None of those reverses have come by more than nine points and there’s a lot to admire in the way an over-matched roster have kept up their fight amid the toil. But the Lakers are 8-6 against teams with sub-.500 records. With their superior inside muscle, back them on the handicap of -5.
Detroit are back home after their trip to London but they’ll have to shake off any jetlag when they face Boston. The Celtics lost to Chicago and New Orleans at home last week following a six-game winning streak, and they’ve seen Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett struggle with their shooting.
The Pistons have some hope in using Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in tandem to repel teams, like Boston, who like to slash to the basket. The Celtics are -2 on the handicap at 1.91 but I like Detroit to win at 2.15.
In championship betting, the LA Clippers have moved up to 8.50 third favourites to win the title and 4.00 to win the West. But if you are in the mood for a punt, the Chicago Bulls are 18.00 to take the championship. They’ve coped admirably without Derrick Rose and if he returns in prime shape, they could be a very dangerous threat in the spring.
Bet of the day: Take the Lakers over the Raptors on handicap at 1.91.