|NBA: LA Lakers at San Antonio Spurs Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Tuesday, 13 November 2007 04:01|
Shootout in The West
That will change Tuesday when the high-scoring Lakers visit the defending world champion Spurs, one of the league's best defensive teams.
The Lakers are among the NBA's leaders with 108.4 points per game, but Tim Duncan and the Spurs are allowing just 88.3 a contest.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made San Antonio -8.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 198.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 52% of bets for this game have been placed on San Antonio -8.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
San Antonio (6-1) allowed a league-low 90.1 points per game last season on the way to winning its third championship in five years. The Spurs have finished in the top three in the league in fewest points allowed in every season since 1997-98 - Duncan's rookie campaign.
The defensive intensity was evident throughout the Spurs' win Sunday against Milwaukee, but it was San Antonio's efficiency on offense that ensured the game wouldn't be close. The Spurs led 65-38 at halftime and cruised to a 113-88 win, with seven Spurs scoring in double figures.
"We had a very good night," said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, whose team shot a season-high 55.7 percent from the field in winning its third straight. "We came out with a lot of energy and I think we caught Milwaukee on a bad night for them."
Manu Ginobili led the Spurs, who were up by as many as 40, with 21 points in only 18 minutes. The Argentinian guard leads the team with 19.9 points per game despite coming off the bench. He hasn't started a regular-season game since Jan. 26 against Memphis but he isn't complaining, and neither is Popovich.
"It's very repetitive, isn't it?" Popovich asked. "I just hope we never take it for granted. Manu is an unbelievable competitor."
The Lakers (3-2) have played four of their first five games at home, but now will head to Texas for a two-game swing. After their stop in San Antonio, they'll travel to Houston to face the Rockets, who are tied with the Spurs atop the Southwest Division.
Los Angeles rebounded from a 14-point home loss to New Orleans with a 14-point win, beating Minnesota 107-93 on Friday. Bryant, who leads the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game, had 30, but it was the five other Lakers in double figures that impressed him.
"We just go with the flow. Honestly, we really don't give a darn who scores and who gets rebounds," Bryant said. "That's the thing about our system, all of us can handle the ball. That's why we're such a good passing team."
The Lakers had 28 assists against the Timberwolves, and are among the league's top five teams with 25.2 per contest.
Starting center Kwame Brown sat out his second straight game due to bursitis in his right heel, but forward Lamar Odom made his season debut, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Odom had shoulder surgery last spring that kept him out for the first 10 days of the season.
"It felt good. When you are on the perimeter a little bit more it's less banging, so I just picked my spots," Odom said, adding that it will probably take him "a couple of weeks" to be back to 100 percent.
Bryant has averaged 24.8 points in 38 games against the Spurs, though he posted 33.0 in three games versus them last season. Duncan has scored 21.6 points per game and averaged 12.3 rebounds against Los Angeles since entering the league.
The Lakers won two of three against the Spurs in 2006-07, including their only visit to San Antonio. The Spurs had won eight of nine meetings prior to last season.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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