at LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Western Conference Playoffs – Second Round
Tip-off: Monday, 10:35 p.m. EDT
Line: Los Angeles -6, Total: 189
After each disposing of their First Round opponents in six games, the Mavericks and Lakers prepare to face off against each other in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Despite all of their regular season and postseason success over the last 10 years, this is the first time since 1988 that they are facing each other in the postseason. Basketball scores.
The Mavs answered some of their critics in the First Round by defeating an opponent that many picked them to lose against. Unlike in years past, Dallas was able to show grit and toughness by rallying to win the series after blowing a 23-point lead in Game 4. Dirk Nowitzki played excellent, showing his true leadership abilities in defeating the Blazers in the First Round. Nowitzki averaged 27.3 PPG against the Blazers, while shooting 45.2 percent from the field. The Mavericks had real success when isolating Nowitzki this season, as he averaged 1.10 points per play, and shot 56.8 percent in isolation during the regular season, ranking first in both categories.
As he continues to chase the golden icon, Michael Jordan, in titles won, Kobe Bryant moved one step closer to his sixth NBA title when helped the Lakers defeat the Hornets. Bryant played a lesser role in the first round then he did during the regular season, averaging more than seven PPG less and five FG per game less. Andrew Bynum was excellent both offensively, averaging a double-double (15.2 PPG, 10.3 RPG), and defensively as the Lakers held the Hornets to 44.1% FG when he was on the court, compared to them shooting 49.0% FG when he was on the bench. Basketball odds.
No matter how much success the Mavericks have had (they have averaged 56.3 wins per season over their past 11 regular seasons), they have never won an NBA title and advanced to the NBA Finals just once. The Lakers meanwhile, have averaged 54.5 wins per season over their past 11 regular seasons, but have won four titles over that span, and reached the finals six times. L.A. is 24-4 SU at home versus Dallas since 1996, and won the last two meetings by 28 points (110-82 on March 31) and 35 points (131-96 on 1/3/10).
While the Dallas faithful would like to believe this is the year the Mavs finally get over the hump, the Lakers are still the defending champs and until they are knocked out, I like them to win the West. I’m taking Los Angeles to win Game 1 and the series in six games.
The FoxSheets also backs the Lakers for Monday’s series opener:
Play Against – Road underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points (DALLAS) – revenging a loss where opponent scored 100 or more points, playing with 3 or more days rest. (86-42 since 1996.) (67.2%, +39.8 units. Rating = 3*). Basketball spreads.
And this highly-rated FoxSheets trend sides with the Under for Game 1.
L.A. LAKERS are 27-11 UNDER (71.1%, +14.9 Units) after having won 5 or 6 of their last 7 games this season. The average score was L.A. LAKERS 100.8, OPPONENT 94.8 – (Rating = 3*).