Just when life seemingly couldn’t get any more fraught for Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, he takes his slumping side to New York to face the red-hot Knicks on Thursday. And it’s unlikely to be a happy return, less than ten months after he was effectively ousted from Madison Square Garden.
The Lakers have lost three in a row to fall to 4-8 since D’Antoni took over and there is little to admire about their play. In their defeat to Cleveland on Tuesday, they allowed an opponent to break the 100-point barrier for the sixth time in their last seven games and they’ll continue to rest Pau Gasol in the hopes of getting him back to something approaching his best.
That signals doom against a Knicks team which is 8-0 at home and winners of seven of their last eight, including victories over Miami and Brooklyn. They’re also averaging 102.6 points per game and 14-2 when hitting the 100 mark.
Carmelo Anthony is 1.85 to grab 29.5 points or over with Kobe Bryant at 1.85 to score 30. Both might come up big which could post the total points over the line of 208. Take New York to heap more troubles on their former playcaller at 1.33.
San Antonio hit a rare bump on the road when they were edged out by Utah last night but they’re yet to suffer back-to-back losses this season. That’s a stat which is unlikely to change at Portland where they took a 112-109 victory on November 10 without Tony Parker. The Frenchman is in prime healthy now while cold-shooting Blazers have been without Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum as their inauspicious start continues.
Even on back-to-back nights, the Spurs are 4-1 this season so they’re justifiably 1.32 favourites here with Parker good value at 1.85 to score 21 or more.
It’s the last week of the Euroleague regular season and there is plenty at stake with three spots in the Top 16 up for grabs. Bamberg can progress with a win over Partizan but with the Serbs still holding a slim chance, they’re worth a look at 3.00. Caja Laboral are 1.07 to go through by beating Zagreb but the most intrigue will come in Istanbul where it’s winner-take-all between Fenerbahce and Cantu. The Turks are 1.18 to move onwards with the Italians at 5.40. But have a look at Cantu on the third quarter handicap of +7.15 at 1.90.
Bet of the Day: Back Tony Parker to score 21 points or more against Portland at 1.85.