After scaling the mountain to get themselves back into the play-off spots after a nightmare start to the NBA campaign, the Los Angeles Lakers have found the conditions somewhat troublesome. They’ll now have to hold on by their fingernails over the final ten games of the regular season, as Utah and Dallas tug from beneath.
The home straight begins in Milwaukee on Thursday night and the Lakers must adjust to life without Metta World Peace, the latest in their long line of casualties.
His loss, until the second round of the post-season (if his team lasts that long), will be keenly felt by a side giving up 101.4 points per night, a startling number in the presence of two defensive goliaths in Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant.
His exit has been tempered by the return of Pau Gasol but the fragile nature of the Lakers’ chemistry with so many different line-ups was illustrated by their struggles to edge out Minnesota on Wednesday.
Milwaukee lost last night at Philadelphia and they’ve now dropped four straight as Brandon Jennings has hit the skids. Hence, this could be an ugly tie, with Bryant at 1.85 to score over 29.5 points. LA should edge it but with both finding it hard to shut up shop, look over the total first half points line of 105.5 at 1.91.
The Dallas Mavericks can bounce back to .500 for the first time in 2013 if they defeat Indiana tonight but the rest of the NBA should be wary as the Pacers gradually get their full roster back to health.
David West and Danny Granger are expected to return and it looks increasingly like Indy might be the team best equipped to challenge Miami in the East.
The Pacers showed against Houston on Wednesday that they’re a match for offensively-gifted opponents like the Mavericks. With some fresh legs arriving, back them to shackle Dallas at 2.33.
Bet of the Day: Take Indiana to beat Dallas at 2.33
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