Reason For Concern
Both clubs - who have combined to win seven of the last nine NBA titles - try to overcome their concerns Tuesday when they meet in San Antonio.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made San Antonio -6 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 198.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 55% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles +6 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
The Lakers (27-12) assuaged some of their fears by beating Denver 116-99 on Monday, their first convincing win without Bynum in the lineup. The 20-year-old center, who leads the NBA with a 63.6 field-goal percentage and is averaging a team-high 10.2 rebounds, injured his knee on Jan. 13 against Memphis, a game the Lakers won 100-99. He is expected to miss about two months.
In the first two games following Bynum's injury, the Lakers barely held off struggling Seattle 123-121 in overtime, then lost 106-98 at home to Phoenix.
But they dominated the Nuggets on Monday, when Derek Fisher scored 16 of his season-high 28 points in the first quarter. Kobe Bryant didn't attempt a shot in the first, but finished with 17 points and a season-high 11 assists.
"It's a good win for us," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We just can't make too much out of anything and stay really close into what we're trying to do - try to force every game to be an opportunity to win, don't give anything away. We know we're going to have to work hard to get some wins."
The Lakers also are without reserve forward Trevor Ariza for eight weeks after he broke his foot at Sunday's practice.
The Spurs (26-13) are relatively healthy, but they haven't been playing well recently. They beat Charlotte 95-86 on Monday to avoid a third straight loss, but they have dropped their last seven games against teams with winning records since a 102-91 win against Denver on Dec. 15.
"For a decade now this has been our period where we get into a little lull," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Hopefully we will be a lot better at playoff time as we have been in the past."
The defending NBA champions are just 9-10 in their last 19 games - a stretch that includes a 102-97 loss at the Lakers on Dec. 13 - but Popovich doesn't seem overly concerned.
"Losses at this part of the season have never really bothered us much," the coach said. "It's a game of mistakes. It's just an educational thing until playoff time comes around."
Tim Duncan had 19 points and 10 rebounds against the Bobcats as the Spurs reached 90 points for the first time in four games.
Duncan was just 2-for-13 from the field and finished with five points when the Spurs hosted the Lakers on Nov. 13, but San Antonio managed to win the game 107-92 behind 26 points from Tony Parker. Duncan missed the Dec. 13 meeting due to a sprained ankle.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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