Are the Lakers sinking or will their All Star cast keep them afloat?
After their stunning, miserable defeat to Dallas on the opening night of the season, the only way surely is up for the new-look Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday when they travel to Portland.
The Lakers stellar line-up looked more like a D-League squad at times, proving that there’s no such thing as instant karma. “It will all come with time," declared Dwight Howard, who had a game to forget in the 99-91 loss which was his team’s ninth straight reverse coming out of the pre-season.
But will the bold experiment fare any better against the Trailblazers, who were 3-4 in the pre-season after a summer revamp? Portland’s young squad, who include British rookie Joel Freeland, have plenty to prove themselves. But there’s a proud tradition of Kobe Bryant silencing the doubters, and Steve Nash will not be so passive again. So take the Lakers to win this one at 2.30.
LA’s other team are starting the season with higher hopes than ever, based on the combo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Clippers are fifth favourites for the NBA title at 22.00 and they tip off against Memphis, who will be one of their key rivals in the Western Conference down the stretch.
The Grizzlies were ousted from the play-offs last spring by the Clippers so a little payback is due. In pre-season, three of their four wins came while scoring 105 points or more so it’s tempting to go over the points line of 187 at 1.91. And with Chauncey Billups still recovering from injury, Memphis is worth a look at 2.60 to win in regulation.
Of the other second night showdowns, Dallas will bid for another upset when they visit Utah. The Jazz still appear a poor defensive team and that could give the Mavericks a shot at going 2-0. They’re great value at 4.90.
Bet of the Day: Take Dallas to beat Utah in regulation at 4.90.