Spurs vs Lakers Pick NBA – April 14th

We had another winning NBA night last night here at thesportsgeek.com, and only four short days remain in the 2012-2013 regular season.  My best advice to bettors this week would be to be very cautious with what games you choose to wager on this week.  It is tricky in the final week of the season to know what teams are trying, which teams are resting players, who will be playing and for how long, and ultimately, does this particular team have ANY interest in playing tonight??

Such is the case with a few games today.  Indiana at New York – great game and a likely second round preview… so how much does either team want to show today?  They all but have the second and third spots clinched – so why put forth an enormous effort today?  I honestly don’t know which team (if either) puts out max effort, so therefore I’m staying away from the game.  The same goes for Brooklyn at Toronto today.  The Nets have an outside chance of catching Indiana for the #3 seed (unlikely), but are probably securely settled into fourth position.  How much do they push the gas today on the road??

For today’s pick, let’s focus on an aspect of the “who cares today” theorem and try to use it to our advantage.  No Kobe?  That’s OK – the Lakers STILL need a big win to get to the Playoffs and still have some big stars who might be secretly EXCITED for the opportunity to see the basketball a bit more… let’s dig into the Spurs at Lakers contest tonight at Staples Center.

San Antonio Spurs -5 at Los Angeles Lakers (196.5)

Will Magic Johnson’s comments that the Lakers WOULD beat the Spurs if they met in the 1/8 matchup ‘spur’ them to a better effort tonight?  Probably not.  Those comments were made before Kobe’s torn Achilles, and if any team is immune to the fray of verbal battles, it’s Coach Pop’s Spurs.

They have shown an almost bizarre disregard for seeding and positioning, almost always opting for rest and recovery instead.  I expect the same thing tonight.  It seems odd, being SO close to the top seed and an opportunity to possibly play against this same depleted Laker squad, but I think the Spurs are content with #2 and a likely date with an athletic Houston squad that will make them work.

The Lakers are missing Kobe, which would seem to be the K.O. for the season, but I have a funny feeling they play well tonight; really well.  Pao Gasol and Dwight Howard are All-NBA caliber players who have to be absolutely salivating at the opportunity for the offense to run through them.  Assuming the Spurs give Duncan some R&R tonight, it is easy to envision either one of them (or both) lighting it up tonight and carrying the Lakers to the win.

I love LA getting five points tonight, and I like them STILL getting into the Playoffs, and in my opinion, still be a really fascinating first round matchup, especially if they can get Nash onto the court with the new freedom to initiate and orchestrate the offense.

Free Pick:  Los Angeles Lakers +5

Chris Scheeren / Author