Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lakers Inferior, But Not This Bad




Gamblers refer to last night's LA Lakers game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City as "easy money." That means smart bettors have over a 90% chance of  winning. A seven-point favorite, and it should have been twice that, the Thunder destroyed the Lakers, 119-90. Those smart bettors, backing the Thunder, cleaned up, while die-hard Lakers fans, foolishly wagering with their hearts, got burned.

Realistically, the Lakers never had a prayer. Coming off that brutal Saturday night win against Denver, the Lakers needed a week off. That all-the marbles game against a group of young, sprinting thoroughbreds, drained the Lakers, who have three key players---Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol who are over 30. That may have been the toughest game the Lakers played all season  They had less than 48 hours to rest before tackling the younger, faster, deeper Thunder on the road, a team basking in nine days' rest.

Down by 35 in the third quarter yesterday, the Lakers really looked awful. An older, worn-out team simply can't compete with a spry, quick, rested outfit playing at home. Early in the game, you got a glimpse of the real Lakers, when they were playing hard, even leading for a time. But they still had their legs. Then in the second quarter, sooner then expected, their legs gave out. Game over. Anyone who bet on the Thunder didn't even have to bother watching the second half.

Look for the remaining games to be more competitive. Though the Lakers could easily be swept, they're not quite as inept as they looked yesterday, while the Thunder aren't quite that good. For instance, Oklahoma City, worst in the league in turnovers, gave the ball away only four times on Monday. That's not likely to happen again. With that Denver series in the rear-view mirror, the Lakers, with a little more fuel in the tank, should play more effective defense.

Still, can you see the Lakers winning four out of six games against this team, which has home-court advantage? Not really. The Lakers are a long shot to win just one game in this series. They're facing a Mt. Everest situation, having to play three games in five days. What's worse, their two home games are back-breaking back-to-backs, Friday and Saturday. That schedule, of course, doesn't favor a team stocked with veterans.

If you're betting, the Lakers' best shot to win a game is on Friday, their first at home. Then, they're liable to be down two games and desperate. If you're looking for another sure-shot, like yesterday's blow-out, zero in on the Saturday game, wagering on Oklahoma City to beat whatever the spread is. After giving their all in Friday's game three, the Lakers, in game four, should be sluggish and just plain out of gas.