No Pau Gasol, no Dwight Howard. The problems keep on mounting for the Los Angeles Lakers. So it’s perhaps not the best time to be visiting their old foes Boston on Thursday night, when Mike D’Antoni will have to patch up his team and hope they have enough to contend with the Celtics.
Gasol will be out for six weeks, a major blow in their hopes of catching Houston for eighth-place in the West. While Howard should be back within the week, it’s left the Lakers threadbare in the middle, as they bid for a fourth consecutive win on their current road swing.
If they need inspiration, they should look towards Boston. The Celtics have won five in a row since losing Rajon Rondo for the season, including grind-out defeats of Miami, Toronto and the Clippers. Kevin Garnett has had four double-doubles in his last six games while Paul Pierce has stepped up.
Yet the Lakers are only 8-16 on the road and in their current state, it’s tough to see them challenging the Celtics. Back Boston at the -2.5 handicap.
Another team who are going out short-handed are the Chicago Bulls, who will likely be without Joakim Noah for their visit to Denver.
With Kirk Hinrich also out and Carlos Boozer troubled by hamstring problems, the Bulls shipped an uncharacteristic 111 points against Indiana on Monday and that could spell danger against the free-scoring Nuggets.
Denver have won seven in a row with their fast-break wreaking havoc and they’ll be aware that Chicago are just 5-6 when their opponents rack up 100 points. So expect Denver to prevail.
Bet of the Day: Take Boston Celtics -2.5 to beat the LA Lakers at 1.91