NBA Basketball: Los Angeles Lakers at Washington Wizards - Wizards Favored

Team Page: Los Angeles :: Washington

62% of Bets Placed on Los Angeles 3.5 | Matchup | NBA Picks
WASHINGTON (AP) - It sure sounded like an insult. A dismissive dig, at least. The sort of thing Gilbert Arenas loves to hear so he can store it away for extra motivation.

Oddsmakers have made Washington -3.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 217.5 total points (View NBA Sports Books).

 

After Arenas scored a franchise-record 60 points to lead the Washington Wizards past the Los Angeles Lakers in December, Kobe Bryant sniffed, ``He doesn't seem to have much of a conscience,'' and made reference to his counterpart ``just chucking it up there.''

Bryant also warned, ``I'll be ready next time.'' Well, next time for two of the NBA's top four scorers comes Saturday night, when Arenas' Wizards host Bryant's Lakers.

Asked this week about his ``conscience'' comment, Bryant put his best spin on it, saying, ``That was a compliment.'' Perhaps in a further effort to extend an apologetic hand, Bryant said of Arenas: ``He's playing extremely, extremely good basketball.''

Arenas never misses a chance to point out real or perceived slights, something that's getting tougher as he piles up Eastern Conference player of the week awards and heads to his third All-Star game - as a first-time starter, no less.

He's willing to give Bryant the benefit of the doubt in this instance.

``Kobe and I have been friends since I came into this league, and I didn't take offense to it. At the end of the day, he's my idol. That's who I grew up watching and that's who I grew up trying to be like,'' Arenas said. ``So as far as I'm concerned, the blood is still good between me and him.''

Don't get Arenas wrong, though. It's not as if he's preparing to be a bit player Saturday.

``I didn't say I'm not going to be in attack mode. I'm going to be in attack mode - you can believe that,'' he said. ``It's just going to be a good game. He has a reputation that he's trying to uphold, and everyone is wondering, ``What is Gil going to do?' And I'm going to do what I do: I'm going to attack him.''

Arenas is second in the league with a 29.5-point scoring average, while Bryant ranks fourth at 28.8.

Both have their teams winning much more than a year ago. Washington is atop the Eastern Conference at 27-18, and Los Angeles entered Friday's game at Indiana with a 28-18 record, good for second place in the Pacific Division.

There are other players who could help determine the outcome Saturday, of course. Washington's Brendan Haywood against Los Angeles' Will Bynum in the paint, for example. Or Jarvis Hayes, who moves into the Wizards' starting lineup to replace Antawn Jamison, out at least three weeks with a knee injury.

The game also could mark the Washington debut of Darius Songaila, a much-needed big man who's missed the entire season after back surgery. At practice Friday, Songaila said a decision on his availability will be made after Saturday's shootaround.

But the focus certainly will be on the two biggest stars on the floor: Kobe vs. Gilbert.

Caron Butler, who played for the Lakers in 2004-05 and now is Arenas' teammate, has no doubt that Bryant is looking forward to this rematch.

``Kobe marks dates on his calendar and is secretly saying, 'That's my game right there,''' said Butler, who's headed to his first All-Star appearance. ``I'm almost positive this game is marked on his calendar.''

It sometimes seems that Arenas figures out a way to circle every date on the schedule.

Under the heading ``Lakers and Kobe Up Next'' on his NBA.com blog, Arenas says, ``I'm going back to the Hibachi days,'' a reference to the hot grill he likens himself to when his game heats up.

``At the end of the day, hopefully we win,'' Arenas continues. ``No matter what goes on during the game, we want that win and that's the most important part about it.''

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

 

NBA Headlines

  • METAIRIE, La. (AP) Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins figure they've proved they can co-exist to spectacular and prolific effect.
    Both big men have been named All-Star starters, giving them h...
  • OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Thunder coach Billy Donovan can't pinpoint the best thing about Paul George.
    Oklahoma City's versatile forward averages just over 20 points per game, leads the league in st...
  • Semi Ojeleye, Cedi Osman and Royce O'Neale have never started in an NBA game. Cameron Payne last played in April. Matt Costello has scored two points in his NBA career.
    They're not stars.
  • NEW YORK (AP) Team LeBron against Team Steph is the NBA's new All-Star matchup.
    LeBron James and Stephen Curry will go head-to-head again, this time as captains who pick teams for the revampe...
  • CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn is out indefinitely after being placed into the NBA's concussion protocol following a fall during a game that ended up with him dislocating two front tee...

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Pacers vs. Lakers Prediction Will the Indiana Pacers cover the small point spread tonight when they visit the L.A. Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET?
Thumbnail Knicks vs. Jazz Pick Will the New York Knicks be able to contend on the road when they face the Utah Jazz tonight at 10:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Suns vs. Nuggets Pick Will the host Denver Nuggetsease to a victory tonight when they battle the Phoenix...
Thumbnail Kings vs. Grizzlies Prediction Are the Memphis Grizzlies a great bet to cover the point spread against the Sacramento Kings tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET?
Thumbnail Heat vs. Nets Pick Will the Miami Heat record the victory tonight when they are small favorites at the Brooklyn Nets? Tip-off is at...

NBA Team Pages