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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors - 12/8/13

Toronto Raptors (6-12) at Los Angeles Lakers (10-9)

NBA Basketball: Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm (STAPLES Center)

The Line: Los Angeles Lakers -5.5 -- Over/Under: 205.5 See the Latest Odds

TV:

Kobe Bryant makes his return tonight as the Los Angeles Lakers play host to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

Head to head, the Raptors are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings and 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Los Angeles while underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The Lakers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record, 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 home games and 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall. The Raptors on the other hand are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. Western Conference and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall.

In case you have been living under a rock, the big news surrounding tonight's game is the return of Kobe Bryant who will play for the first time since suffering a torn Achilles on in a home win over Golden State last April. The Los Angeles Lakers have made an impressive start to the season in his absence however, coming into tonight's game one game over .500 and they have been playing their best basketball of the season these past three weeks, winning six of eight straight up and covering the spread in seven of those contests.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors are playing their worst basketball of the season at the moment as they have lost five-straight which includes that heart-breaking loss in Golden State on Tuesday night. Long story short, the Raptors were up by 27 points early the third quarter against the Warriors and end up losing by nine, which also meant the cover by one point. Just one of the worst beats you could ever imagine if you had money on the Raptors +9 or worse, in the last leg of a big parlay.

This sounds silly, but I would like the Los Angeles Lakers a lot more if they were without Kobe Bryant tonight. He is clearly going to a distraction and even though he is expected to play limited minutes, the Lakers had been playing such excellent team basketball without him as enter tonight's contest ranked fourth in the entire league in assists per game, dishing out more than 24 per. Toronto is not a good basketball team, but they aren't horrible and their overall play on the road has been ok. In their last seven meetings, only one game was decided by five points or more and I think that trend will continue tonight. I think it will take Los Angeles at least a couple of games to get used to Bryant again and I think taking the points is the right thing to do...

Dan’s Pick: Toronto +5.5

Follow me on Twitter @Dan_SCP

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors - 12/8/13

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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