With a win tonight against the 38-43 Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center in LA, the Los Angeles Lakers (56-25) can secure they’ll finish with the regular season with the best record in the West and thus, home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. SportsBetting.com has the Los Angeles Lakers -17.5 favorite over the Sacramento Kings with the O/U set at 217.5 total points.
Kobe and the Lakers have won 3 in a row, and are coming off a 21-point thrashing of the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night. They dismantled the Ginobili-less Spurs with a balanced offensive attack, suffocating defense, and a total domination on the boards. They are undoubtedly the hottest team (in the West) going into this year’s playoffs.
Tonight they face a solid Sacramento Kings team whose record does not tell the whole story. The Kings have beaten some of the best teams in the West this year, including: the Hornets (three times), Rockets (twice), Jazz (twice), Spurs, Mavericks, Nuggets, and Lakers. Therefore, this team is more than capable and willing (considering their history) to play spoiler on a Lakers celebration tonight… But they won’t. They don’t have enough firepower to contend with a motivated and focused LAL team. And energy for SAC will be an issue, considering they played a grind out game last night against the Spurs (L, 101-98), and a short flight to so. Cal.
But make no mistakes about it… Phil Jackson will have this team mentally prepared (by maybe meditating) for tonight’s game knowing what’s at steak. Look for Los Angeles to jump to an early lead in the 1st quarter and get Jack (Nicholson) and the crowd involved from the start.
But also expect the Zen Master to want to rest his starters as the game progresses, to avoid unnecessary injuries, and to get them rested for the playoffs. Which consequently (as we’ve seen throughout the season) when playing against lesser opponents, the Lakers will allow the Kings to climb back in the game late. Don’t expect LA to blow out the Kings by more than the projected point spread (which RIGHT NOW stands at 17 ½ points). Lakers will win tonight's game, however not by 18 or more points.