The Los Angeles Lakers (33-20) close out a four-game homestand when welcoming the New Jersey Nets (19-35) inside the Staples Center on Tuesday night.
New Jersey Nets at Los Angeles Lakers
New Jersey has won three consecutive games for the first time during the 2011-12 campaign, including back-to-back road wins over the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. The Nets have really picked up their scoring over the last three games, averaging 104.3 points per game over that stretch, which is a huge improvement from the 93.1 points it has averaged the entire year. Point guard Deron Williams continues to lead the team in averaging 21.6 points per game, while dishing off a season-high 20 assists versus the Warriors two games back. New Jersey is 5-2 ATS as a road underdog of 9.5 to 12 points this year.
The Nets come into this affair with a 12-16 overall road record, which includes a winning 4-3 mark versus Western Conference opponents. New York will be trying to put together its first three-game win streak on a West Coast trip since 2008-09. Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace has been a great addition to the starting rotation, averaging 21.0 points and 12.0 rebounds over the last two games. He will need to be great to pull off an upset against tonight’s opponent, as the franchise has dropped seven in a row in the series, losing by an average of 15.2 points per game.
Los Angeles could get caught looking ahead to tomorrow night’s intra-city game against the Clippers, as the team looks to win three games in a row for the first time since a five-game win streak from March 9-16. The Lakers are expecting All-Star center Andrew Bynum to be in the lineup after leaving Sunday’s game against the Warriors in the first quarter with an ankle injury. He has been an absolute force in the previous 15 games, averaging 22.9 points on 64.6 percent shooting. Los Angeles Lakers are 0-6 ATS as a home favorite of 9.5 to 12 points.
The Lakers have registered a sensational 22-5 home record this season, which includes a 6-2 mark versus Eastern Conference opponents. Los Angeles received a huge effort from star guard Kobe Bryant in its 120-112 win over Golden State, finishing with 40 points on 16 of 28 shooting from the field. He has averaged just 22.4 points per game in 23 career games versus the Nets, which happens to be his second lowest average against any NBA team.
Bettors will likely back the Lakers due to the favorite being 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings, while the Nets are 0-4 ATS when playing on two days rest.
Recommendation: Los Angeles Lakers -9.5
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