The most shocking news in New Orleans? That the Hornets are contemplating changing their name to The Pelicans.
The second biggest shock? That the LA Lakers roll into town on Tuesday with just one win on the road this season, with a miserable 8-10 record, and with successive losses to Orlando and Houston to their discredit.
These are troubling times for a team that started the campaign as second favourite to win the title. Now they’re out to 6.25 and with Pau Gasol’s fitness and form in a seemingly irreversible slide, is there any hope?
The answer is yes. Don’t write off the Lakers just yet, certainly not until Steve Nash returns and when coach Mike D’Antoni surely finds a way to use Gasol’s intelligence to his advantage.
That answer won’t come in New Orleans where Antawn Jamison will start and Kobe Bryant needs just 13 points to become only the fifth player to score 30000 in the NBA. But surely a Hornets squad averaging just 93.4 per game can’t add to their visitors’ woes?
The Atlanta Hawks have made a surprisingly positive start but they go into their home tie with Denver off a surprise reverse to Cleveland last weekend. Following some extended rest, they’ll look to fend off a Nuggets side which is 9-9 so far but, at least, broke a three-game skid against Toronto.
Denver haven’t scored less than 102 points in their last five games but only once have they conceded less than a ton. The Hawks are very capable of putting up big scores so look at going over the total points line of 1.91. But the Nuggets big men might just shackle their hosts.
Familiarity, Dallas hope, will breed contempt when the Mavericks take on an LA Clippers team filled with their former players, including the little-missed Lamar Odom.
The Clippers are just 6-4 over their last ten games but with Blake Griffin likely to take advantage of the continued absence of Dirk Nowitzki, LA are deservedly at -8 on the handicap at 1.91.
Bet of the Day: Take Denver over Atlanta at 2.00.
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