Los Angeles Lakers - Minnesota
Kobe Bryant will miss about six weeks after sustaining a knee fracture, just six weeks into his comeback from Achilles surgery. It is a huge blow for the Los Angeles Lakers, no doubt. But the impact might not be as devastating as it once was.
The former MVP was averaging just 13.8 points, well adrift of his career mark of 25.5, and during his cameo, his team slumped from a 10-9 start to 12-13. The Lakers’ pace slowed a little and their offensive rating a lot. Which hints at a quicker tempo and more points production in LA, starting with Friday’s home clash with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Pushing the ball was a formula which worked for the Lakers before Bryant’s arrival. The huge issue now however is a lack of playmaker which may force them into the free agent market. The Timberwolves would be a tough match-up anyway, with Ricky Rubio fuelling the third-highest offense in the NBA, one which is actually more efficient on the road than at home.
Their defence drops considerably on their travels also which could lead to a total points tally above the line of 209.5. But with the Lakers forced to re-adjust once more, back Minnesota to take full advantage on the -5.5 handicap at 1.83.
Philadelphia – Brooklyn
It’s just four days since the Brooklyn Nets blew out the Philadelphia 76ers 130-94. And with the Sixers’ promising start to the campaign now a distant memory following seven straight losses, it’s the Nets who are picking up the pace.
Brooklyn are still far from a polished article, even with a full-strength roster, but they should still coast to this year’s Atlantic Division crown. At -5.5 on the handicap victory at 1.83, it would be a stunning upset if they don’t pull out another rout in Philly.
Take Minnesota over the LA Lakers on the handicap of -5.5 at 1.83
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