|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAOne team that we have not discussed this season as much as they possibly deserve is the Los Angeles Lakers.
After last year's disappointing sweep from the Western Conference Finals, followed by the retirement of legendary coach Phil Jackson, everyone knew that the 2011-2012 season would be a period of rebuilding for the Lakers.
While the core of the team remains in Bryant, Gasol, Fisher, and Bynum, it is clear the franchise is a pale imitation of what it was just a couple of years ago. The era of seemingly effortless NBA Championships has come to an end for the Lakers, and there has even been a lot of talk of trading Gasol. However, they are still a difficult team to beat, despite the growing pains resulting from the transition to new head coach Mike Brown.
One of the biggest changes between this year and the Phil Jackson era has been the new focus on defense. The Lakers are allowing 90.4 points per game, which is 5 fewer than they averaged last year. Unfortunately, they are also scoring an average of only 92.5 points per game, which gives them a winning margin, albeit a very slim one.
The Lakers have a decent 17-12 record this year, but have been much stronger playing at home than on the road. They are 12-2 at home, while putting up a terrible 5-10 record on the road. Even their opposition tonight, the Phoenix Suns, have a better road record at 7-10, although the Suns struggle both at home and away.
NBA odds list the Lakers as the 8 point favorites to win tonight. While LA should come out with the win, is 8 points too much to give for a Suns loss? The game could be a lot closer than the sportsbook expects, especially with how razor-thin the average margin of victory is for the Lakers. The total for the game is 185 ½.