Are the Lakers ready to make a run at the NBA title? Kobe Bryant says: ‘you bet!’
The Los Angeles Lakers start a spell of three games at home on Tuesday night against the Indiana Pacers, with Kobe Bryant claiming the side has begun to settle into the system of new coach Mike D’Antoni after four games under his helm.
There was some evidence of an improvement when four players each had 19 points in a 115-89 rout of Dallas last weekend. And with Bryant leading all scorers in the NBA - and D’Antoni’s teams never shy about putting points on the board - expect the Lakers to remain among the league’s offensive goliaths for the rest of the season, especially when Steve Nash returns.
Indiana, who give up only 92 points per night, will provide a test but they’ve disappointed in their 6-8 start without the injured Danny Grainger. They’ve dropped to 35.0 for the Eastern Conference title but there’s plenty of room for improvement. Even so, go under the line of 197.0 total points in this one and back the Lakers on the -7.5 handicap at 1.91.
The Houston Rockets will bid for three successive wins tonight when they host Toronto. They’ve been boosted by the rise to prominence of forward Chandler Parsons, who scored 31 in his side’s 131-103 rout of the Knicks last week. By contrast, the Raptors have dropped four straight and are 1-7 on the road this term.
Yet even with Alan Anderson and the ineffective Landry Fields both sidelined, they’ve pushed teams close but failed to close out so be wary of backing Houston on the handicap of -5.
Taking under the total points of 199.5 at 1.91 looks a safer option. The Sacramento Kings take a three-game winning streak into their game against Minnesota, who have now lost five in a row as injuries have taken their toll. The Kings look solid to maintain their surge at -2 on the handicap at 1.91.
Bet of the Day: Take Lakers over Pacers on the handicap at 1.91.