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Bet on the NBAAnalyzing the Los Angeles Lakers has been a bit of a conundrum throughout the regular season.

At first, it looked like the defending NBA champions were past their good-thru date. But after the All-Star Break, they turned it around, going on a 17-1 tear through the league before stalling out with a six-game losing streak and then ending the regular season with a couple of wins.

So are they good enough to go all the way again this year? It seems doubtful, but people have lost a lot of money in years past betting against Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers. The team is still considered the favorite to win the NBA Title this year, but no one quite knows whether they can trust the Lakers anymore or not.

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The team looked downright lazy at times during the regular season, playing loose defense and showing a willingness to throw up bad shots. While they still had enough gas left in the tank to power them to a second or third best record in the Western Conference, they were showing trouble less brilliance on the court than is usually expected from them.

Their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers going into the All-Star Break was especially troubling. But after the break, the Lakers came out with both guns blazing, winning 19 of 21 games at one points. The champs were back! But then, they started losing, dropping six in a row in one of their worst losing streaks in years. From contesting the first place spot in the West with the San Antonio Spurs, they almost lost the No. 2 seed to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Lakers are going into the playoffs as the second seed in the West, though, and will be taking on the No. 7 New Orleans Hornets. New Orleans has a 28-13 record at home and an exactly opposite 13-28 record on the road. The Lakers are strong both at home, going 30-11, and on the road, going 27-14. Los Angeles should have this series wrapped up in five games, six at the most.

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