NBA Betting: Hornets vs. Lakers Free Pick
The New Orleans Hornets weren’t expected to give the Lakers much trouble at all in the first round, but that is why they play the game. The Hornets have given the Lakers all they can handle and more thus far. Chris Paul has been spectacular, and the Hornets bench has given them some very productive minutes. Bryant was injured in the late stages of Game Four, and it is unclear how much that injury will hinder his ability to be effective in this one. This is the biggest game of the year so far for both teams. Who will step up?
Chris Paul has dealt with quite a few injuries in the past year, but he is back to being a dominant point guard. When he is playing at the level he has in this series, you could make a solid argument that he might be the best point guard in the NBA. Paul carried the team in the fourth quarter of their crucial Game Four win on Sunday night. The 6’0 guard grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with 27 points and 15 assists in his masterful performance in Game Four. Trevor Ariza was absolutely huge for the Hornets as well on Sunday night. It was Ariza who guarded Kobe Bryant. He held Bryant to zero points in the first half. Ariza also scored 19 points in the game.
The Lakers appeared to get their act together in Games Two and Three, but they were outplayed in Game Four. Bryant may be hobbled a bit in Game Five, but there is little doubt that he will play. Pau Gasol is a supremely talented big man, but he hasn’t played well at all in this series. Gasol made some key errors at the end of Game Four, and he must play like he is capable of if the Lakers are going to repeat as NBA Champions. Lamar Odom has also played below par in this series. Ron Artest has stepped up his game and made some key contributions. The Lakers have a big advantage on the boards, and they must focus on getting the ball inside.
Kobe’s injury makes this one a little less certain, but I do think the Lakers will win this game. I think Odom and Gasol will play more like themselves, and the Lakers will dominate in the paint. The Lakers are a solid defensive team this year, and I expect them to keep this game under the posted total.
NBA Free Pick: Hornets/Lakers under 183
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