So Los Angeles Lakers chief Jim Buss doesn’t think he needs to blow up the project and start again? Fighting talk indeed. But with his team on a five-game losing streak, and with injuries crippling their hopes, how long before the clamour grows for some urgent action to help push the Lakers into the play-offs – and increase their hopes of retaining Dwight Howard next summer?
The All Star centre is one of the absentees for Friday night’s meeting with Oklahoma City, along with Jordan Hill, while it’s 50:50 that Pau Gasol will also sit again. It will be down to Kobe Bryant once again to try and pick up the slack and he’s 1.85 to score 32.5 points or more. But that’s a tough ask against a good defensive team like the Thunder, who are out-scoring opponents by an average of 9.1 points this season.
Kevin Durant is 1.85 to hit 29 points or more - just above his season average. He hit 36 when OKC topped the Lakers 114-108 last month. It could be a similar contest this time, but while there’s plenty of fight left in the dog, LA could be biting off more than they can chew.
Carmelo Anthony will return from suspension for New York’s home tie against Chicago. That’s good timing to help a Knicks team which has won only one of their last seven games with the Bulls. They’ve also dropped two straight and are 4-7 when they fail to score 100 points or more this season.
Last month, Anthony was ejected as the Knicks lost 110-106 to Chicago but those kind of numbers are atypical for the Bulls. It’s tempting to go under the total points line of 190.5 at 1.91 but on current form, New York are good value on the handicap at -4.0.
Bet of the day: Take Kevin Durant at 1.85 to score 29 or more against the Lakers.