Phoenix Suns Vs. Los Angeles Lakers 2/19/12 John’s Free NBA Basketball Pick Against the Spread
The Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns just played each other on Wednesday, but because of the condensed schedule and four meetings this season, the two teams will clash again on Sunday.
The NBA’s leading scorer Kobe Bryant (28.9) torched Phoenix Wednesday night for 36 points. One game removed from only scoring ten points, Bryant shot of 14 of 25 from the floor in a 111-99 win over the Suns.
However, this is nothing new for Bryant this year against the Suns. Back on Jan. 10, Bryant scored his season-high 48 points. Bryant got into a zone, much like he did on Wednesday, and finished 18 of 31 from the floor.
Besides having difficulty slowing down Bryant, the Suns have been ineffective at keeping Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The two big men are why the Lakers at the best rebounding team at 45.6 boards per game. In two games against the Suns this season, Gasol and Bynum have combined for a total of 47 boards. As a team, the Lakers have outrebounded the Suns 101-71.
Phoenix is having a difficult season but there is a bright spot in starting center Marcin Gortat. Gortat is the only Suns player to start in 31 games. Gortat is leading the team in points (15.4/g), rebounding (10.3/g), field goal percentage (55.2 percent), and blocks (1.6/g).
Gortat, who turned 28 on Friday night, is averaging a double-double in his last three meetings against the Lakers. Gortat led the team with 21 points and 16 rebounds on Friday.
Point guard Steve Nash had a season-high 17 assists on Friday, but he also had seven turnovers. Nash, who was playing in his second game since taking a day off to rest from an injury, struggled to find his shooting touch. Nash shot 4 of 11 from the floor, and only had two free throw attempts.
The Lakers have been a bad road team this season. Los Angeles is 5-10 away from Staples Center. But Phoenix is just the team a struggling road team wants to play. The Suns are 5-8 at the US Airways Center, including losing their last four games at home.
The Suns will most likely continue to use the 39-year-old Grant Hill to try and slow down Bryant. Also, Phoenix will more than likely choose not to double team Bryant. The Suns cannot afford to let Bryant look for open shooters and allow Bynum and Gasol to get position for the rebound.
Phoenix has to play Bryant straight up and hope that Hill and the other Phoenix players, who guard Bryant, can contain him. If not, the NBA’s leading scorer will likely go off on the Suns for the second time in less than a week.
Los Angeles is 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. Western Conference. The Under is 6-1 in Lakers last seven after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game. The Over is 4-1 in Lakers last five vs. NBA Pacific. The Under is 5-1 in Suns last six vs. NBA Pacific. Head-to-head the road team is 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight meetings.