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Bet on the NBAJust a few weeks ago, the fact that the San Antonio Spurs would end the season in first place in the Western Conference was a foregone conclusion. That they would end at least 4-7 games ahead of the No. 2 and 3 teams also seemed more than likely. But that was before Tim Duncan suffered an ankle injury and the Spurs dropped five games in a row.

This is a longer losing streak than any the San Antonio team has faced since drafting Duncan for the 1996-1997 NBA season. And the Los Angeles Lakers, currently in second place in the West, have been on fire since the All-Star Break, winning 16 of 17 games. Just last night, the Lakers crushed the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center in LA, and are now within 2.5 games of overtaking the Spurs.

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The April 12 game between the Lakers and Spurs is becoming more important by the day, as the two teams' records start to close in on each other. San Antonio is wounded and have missed up to four players per game in this recent losing streak. Right now, the Spurs are 35-11, while Los Angeles has a 33-11 season record. And the Spurs lead the season series two games to one.

The Spurs have seven games remaining on the schedule besides that macthup with the Lakers on April 12. Their schedule is not that tough, including such teams as the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and Utah Jazz. The Spurs should be able to beat these teams, but they are also suffering from a five-game losing streak right now. Anything can happen.

The Lakers have a bit more difficult schedule from here to the end of the season. On Sunday, they will face off against the Denver Nuggets, who are almost as hot as the Lakers right now. The Nuggets are coming off of a 104-90 win over the Kings on Wednesday night, and play the Sacramento team again tonight. The Nuggets have ten straight wins at home.


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