NBA Betting Preview: LA Lakers at Charlotte Print
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Friday, 29 December 2006 03:17
NBA Headline News

NBA Bettors Picking Road Favorite Lakers Over Bobcats in Charlotte

Team Page: Los Angeles :: Charlotte

91% of Bets Placed on Lakers -4.5 | Matchup | NBA Picks
The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to conclude a long road trip with a victory, but they have to be careful not to overlook their final opponent.

The Lakers look to secure a winning record on this six-game trip as they visit the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday.

Oddsmakers have made Los Angeles -4.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 197 total points (View NBA Sports Books).

Los Angeles (19-10) opened with a 94-89 loss to Chicago, but has won three of the last four games on the trip and needs a victory over the Bobcats for a 4-2 record. However, Charlotte has made a habit of beating the league's better teams despite its poor record.

Charlotte (7-21) has been one of the worst teams in the league, but the Bobcats have beaten some quality opponents among their seven wins. They've defeated Utah, Detroit, Orlando and Cleveland at home and beat San Antonio on the road, giving Lakers coach Phil Jackson something to worry about as the road trip finishes.

``You have to push on right on through and Charlotte's always good on their home court,'' Jackson said. ``They have kind of a notoriety beating all the division leaders and they play really aggressive basketball. They're a stealing, overplaying team that you have to work hard to score on them on their home court.''

The Bobcats beat the Lakers 112-102 at home on Feb. 3 in the last meeting, giving Charlotte its first win over Los Angeles in four tries.

The Lakers bounced back from a tough 101-85 loss to Miami on Christmas to beat Orlando 106-93 on Wednesday. Kobe Bryant had 27 points and Smush Parker added 18 of his season-high 20 in the third quarter as Los Angeles shot 50 percent for just the second time in 10 games.

The Lakers are playing without Lamar Odom, who's missed the last eight games with a sprained right knee ligament.

``We are getting better. It is just a matter of us growing,'' said Bryant, who's averaged 32 points in three games against Charlotte. ``We are so young still and not having Lamar around is tough. It is a step in the right direction. Once we get Lamar back we will be even better.''

With a victory over the Bobcats, the Lakers can get above .500 on the road for the first time since beating Golden State 110-98 on Nov. 1 in their first road game of the season. Los Angeles has been perfectly average away from home, going 6-6 and scoring the same number of points as it has allowed (1,199).

Charlotte has lost three straight and nine of its last 11 games. The Bobcats are 2-9 against the Western Conference and play four of their next five games on the road, where they are 2-11.

Charlotte lost 114-107 at home to Washington on Wednesday despite rallying from a 16-point first-half deficit. Gerald Wallace scored 40 points - one off his career-high - and had 14 rebounds, six steals and four blocks, but it wasn't enough for the Bobcats, who made critical mistakes down the stretch.

``I understand the intentions are good, but we just have to stop making mistakes and then blaming it on youth,'' Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. ``Those are basketball plays we have to make.''

Wallace has averaged 19.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.1 steals in his last eight games. He's averaged six points in seven games - two as a starter - against Los Angeles.

Raymond Felton will continue to see increased minutes after the Bobcats learned on Thursday that Brevin Knight will be sidelined at least four weeks with a torn abdominal muscle. Knight, who averages 11.9 points and a team-high 7.3 assists, had missed the previous three games.

Felton is averaging 13.4 points and 6.7 assists but shooting just 38.9 percent from the field.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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