Battle of Opposites

Once known for dysfunction and controversy, the Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly put those days behind them. It continues to be a completely different story for the New York Knicks.

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers make their lone appearance this season at Madison Square Garden on Sunday to face the Knicks, who enter fresh off another team dispute.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Los Angeles -5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 206 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 88% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Lakers (16-10) had their share of off-the-court attention early in the season because of Bryant's trade demands. It's all in the past now as Los Angeles has won seven of nine games and sits in second place in the Pacific Division behind Phoenix.

For the Knicks (8-18), the season has provided little remedy after an offseason that featured a sexual harassment lawsuit against coach Isiah Thomas and the Garden. New York owns the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference and has played seven of its last 10 games without point guard Stephon Marbury since his father passed away on Dec. 2.

Marbury, whose status remains in limbo, was previously fined for skipping a game at Phoenix on Nov. 13.

Thomas was the focal point of another confrontation when he and forward Quentin Richardson got into an expletive-filled exchange in the third quarter of Friday's 105-95 loss at Charlotte. Assistant coach Herb Williams was forced to hold back Thomas during the argument.

"Sometimes you try to say some things to a player or say some things to your team just to get them motivated, to get some fire in them," Thomas said when asked to explain the incident. "There won't be any carry-over from it."

Richardson also downplayed the disagreement, which overshadowed another dismal performance as the Knicks fell behind by 23 points at halftime in their seventh loss in nine games.

"I thought that the whole group was bad, frankly," Thomas said. "We just had no fire, no competitiveness."

It was another poor effort for center Eddy Curry, who had 11 points and five rebounds. Curry, the team scoring leader last season, is averaging just 10.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in his last nine games.

That's a direct contrast to the emergence of Andrew Bynum for the Lakers. The 20-year-old center is averaging 16.8 points and 11.4 boards while shooting better than 70 percent in his last five games after a stellar performance in Friday's 106-101 win at Philadelphia.

Bynum made 10-of-11 shots for 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He scored 18 of Los Angeles' first 38 points and surpassed 1,000 points for his career.

"My teammates looking for me, especially in the first half, is nice," Bynum said following his third straight double-double.

Los Angeles continued to showcase its impressive balance as Bryant's 19 points was just the team's fourth-best total Friday. Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher each scored 21 points as the Lakers improved to 2-1 heading into the finale of their four-game road trip.

This is the first 2007-08 meeting between these teams after New York swept two games from Los Angeles last season for the first time since 2000-01. Bryant, averaging 34.3 points in his last four games at New York, missed the Lakers' visit to the Garden on Jan. 30 since he was suspended for hitting San Antonio's Manu Ginobili in the face in his previous game.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

Advertisement

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Durant has theraputic Olympics The biggest free agent of the 2016 offseason is ready to join his new team as Kevin Duranthad a successful experience at the 2016 Rio...
Thumbnail GS favored as schedule released The NBA released the 2016-17 schedule earlier this week. Here is a look at the latest odds to win the NBA Finals.
Thumbnail Dallas brings in ex-Warrior to join icon When Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki opted out of his contract on June 21, it felt like a slight roadblock to an inevitable reunion between both sides. Little...
Thumbnail Tim Duncan retires The San Antonio Spurs lost their franchise player on Monday, as Tim Duncan elected to retire after an amazing 19-year...
Thumbnail Rockets give Harden an extension The Houston Rockets locked up their star player for years to come, announcing an extension with James Harden on...
More inNBA Articles  

NBA Headlines

More inNBA News  

NBA Team Pages