The Los Angeles Lakers are one series away from the NBA Finals, but first they have to get by the Phoenix Suns.
Los Angeles is a six-point home favorite with a total of 210 ½-points. Tip-off is 9 pm ET. Brobury has also installed Los Angeles are a -340 favorite for the series. Phoenix is a very reasonable +280.
L.A. had some trouble with Oklahoma City in the first round, but swept Utah last series. They’re on a six-game winning streak, going 5-1 ATS.
Phoenix handled Portland in round one. That wasn’t surprising given the injury to Brandon Roy. What was surprising was the sweep of San Antonio last round. Phoenix averaged 109.5 PPG, but also played better defense than thought against the tough Spurs.
Phoenix is on a six-game winning streak, both SU and ATS.
These teams met four times this year with L.A. winning and ‘covering’ three. The two Lakers home games were blowouts.
Phoenix has its ‘Big 3’ of Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Jason Richardson. Nash is one of the best point guards in NBA history, but really need a title (or at least a Finals appearance) to cement his legacy.
Stoudemire has to battle Los Angeles’ big man tandem of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The good news is that center Robin Lopez is returning tonight from his back injury, He’s very good defensively in the post, which is what they need.
Either Richardson or Grant Hill will get the unenviable task of guarding Kobe Bryant, although they’ll also get some help off the bench.
The bench is the biggest advantage for Phoenix. They go five deep and bring a diverse skill set. They also don’t mind doing the dirty work (see Jared Dudley) and their play was huge against San Antonio.
Bryant is of course the main guy. He’s what LeBron James was supposed to be in the playoffs, a cold-blooded killer who can almost single-handily win a series. If Bryant has a great series, L.A. can’t lose.
BangTheBook.com’s NBA Picks Prediction: Lakers in 7