Los Angeles Lakers (27-34) at San Antonio Spurs (36-26)
We picked up the win last night when we backed the Chicago Bulls at home against the Dallas Mavericks. I hated to have to back a team as bad as the Bulls, especially in the midst of a very blatant run of tanking. But I hated even more that the Dallas Mavericks, the worst road team in the NBA all year long, were somehow road favorites.
I wouldn’t back the Mavericks on the road against Duke at this point. They just stink on the road. So, I took the home underdogs and figured one of these putrid teams had to win, why not back the one getting points?
The Bulls actually showed a little heart on their home court as they fell behind by double digits early and fought their way back into the game. It was refreshing to see this team actually compete and try to win a game down the stretch.
Today I will shift focus from two teams tanking to two teams that are trying hard to win games when the Los Angeles Lakers play the San Antonio Spurs.
The Los Angeles Lakers will travel to San Antonio Saturday night looking to stay hot. They have won four straight games entering play tonight. The Lakers have looked much better since re-hauling their roster at the trade deadline and adding star player Isaiah Thomas.
For the San Antonio, the Spurs badly need a win as they have been struggling as of late. The Spurs are -4.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 219 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from the AT&T Center.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a new team since shipping off several players at the trade deadline and acquiring superstar Isaiah Thomas. They haven’t been winning at an elite level, but they have turned around a sinking ship and have an outside shot of getting hot enough to make a run to the playoffs in a surprisingly flat Western Conference this year.
I don’t think the Lakers are going to have enough time to catch up and actually make the playoffs, but I like that they are playing hard at the moment. They have figured out how to make Lonzo Ball and Isaiah Thomas coexist, which I didn’t think was going to happen. Thomas is notoriously ball hungry, and I wondered if they would play well together.
At least in the short-term, this experiment looks to be working out. The Lakers have won four straight and eight out of eleven games. But even with that nice run, they are still seven games back of the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with just 23 games to go.
The San Antonio Spurs are struggling right now. They have been without their best player, Kawhi Leonard, most of the year and are at risk of missing the playoffs this year. The Spurs were comfortably in the three slot in the Western Conference just a couple of weeks ago but are now in a four-way tie for the fourth slot. They are just a half of a game ahead of a red-hot Pelicans team for the seventh seed. And just two and a half games ahead of the Clippers to miss the playoffs altogether.
It would be shocking to see a Greg Popovich coached team miss the playoffs. The last time Pop missed the playoffs as a head coach? His first year in 1996. The Spurs are going to have to get their act together, and now, if they don’t want to break that streak of success.
This is a very interesting game. You have a Spurs team that despite all of their struggles have managed to once again be one of the NBA’s best home teams. This recent rough patch for San Antonio saw them play a bunch of games on the road, and they have struggled badly. But at home? They are still one of the NBA’s best teams, even with recent losses to Utah, Houston, and New Orleans.
But, that being said, they are going to be without all of their best players tonight and are playing against a team that is playing very well right now. LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to miss the game after injuring himself in their last game.
When Aldridge went out against the Pelicans, the Spurs were up 15 points. They ended up losing at home. Pau Gasol will likely not play as well, and Kawhi Leonard won’t be back for at least a couple more weeks. They just don’t have the talent left to really compete at a high level right now.
I know the Lakers aren’t a great team, but in the NBA its not always about how good you are, its about how well you are playing right now that matters. And the Spurs are struggling badly.
A month ago, I would have laughed if I said I was taking the Lakers against the Spurs in San Antonio, but here we are. The Lakers look much better with a new rotation, and the Spurs have nobody left to play.
Give me the Los Angeles Lakers getting 4.5-points tonight on the road.