May 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM EST
NBA Betting Odds from BetDSI
NBA Pointspread: Lakers -2.5
The Los Angeles Lakers had played the perfect game in Oklahoma City for 46 minutes, but the last two minutes were a disaster. Oklahoma City rallied from 7 down with two minutes left to beat the Lakers 77-75 on Wednesday night. How will the Lakers respond after such a heart breaking loss? This is the first of a rare back-to-back scheduling spot in the playoffs. This one is a must-win for the Lakers.
Oklahoma City didn’t play well at all Wednesday night, but the team found a way to steal Game Two away from the Lakers. Russell Westbrook was 5 for 17 from the floor and Kevin Durant scored just 22 points. Game Two was not played at a tempo that Oklahoma City would like to see. The Thunder only got off 69 shots all game, compared to 83 in Game One. James Harden was quiet most of the game, but he had three consecutive baskets late in the game when the team needed it most.
Oklahoma City needs to get to the rim more often rather than settling for jump shots as they did in Game Two. Serge Ibaka swatted seven shots in Game Two, and he has been a tremendous defensive force for the Thunder. Oklahoma City must be ready for a big effort from Kobe Bryant in this one.
The Lakers had to be extremely dejected after losing Game Two the way they did, but they have to try to realize that they are still in this series if they can simply protect their home court. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol both played well in Game Two, and the Lakers had a 41-36 edge on the boards. The game was played in the half court, which is exactly what he Lakers want to see. If the Lakers can get a similar style of game once again, their chances of winning Game Three are pretty good.
The Lakers made just 2 out of 15 three-point attempts in Game Two, and they are really struggling with shots outside the paint. Someone needs to heat up from outside so the Thunder can’t just pack the paint and make life miserable for the Lakers big men. Bryant has only scored 20 points in each of the first two games of this series, and he’ll need to do more in this contest.
Oklahoma City is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games when playing on a single day of rest. The Thunder are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
The Lakers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as a home favorite of 4.5 points or less. Los Angeles is 7-17 ATS in their last 24 when playing on a single day of rest.
The over is 19-9 in the Lakers last 28 games as a favorite. The under is 13-6 in Oklahoma City’s last 19 road games.
Free NBA Pick: Lakers -2.5
The Lakers absolutely have to win this game, and I think this team has enough pride to bounce back from a tough loss. Look for them to dominate in the interior and win this game.
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