The two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers
, winners in 12 of their last 13 games, continue their seven-game homestand Tuesday by hosting the Phoenix Suns
. The two Western Conference foes will be meeting for the fourth time this season, with tip-off at Staples Center scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (PT).
Pete Korner, who disseminates the betting numbers for the majority of Nevada sports books as owner of the Sports Club, has installed the Lakers as 8 ½-point home favorites on his overnight line. The total is set at 202 points.
Ironically, the road team has captured each of the first three meetings this season, with the ‘over’ cashing on two occasions. In fact, the ‘over’ is 6-2 in the last eight series meetings in Los Angeles.
The first matchup (Oct. 29) saw the Lakers register a 114-106 victory as 3 ½-point road favorites. The combined 220 points catapulted ‘over’ the 207-point closing total.
Two weeks later (Nov. 14), the Suns got their revenge by outlasting the Lakers as 8 ½-point road underdogs, 121-116. Though oddsmakers set the total 8 ½ points higher than the first meeting (215 ½), the combined 237 points still soared ‘over.’
The most recent meeting (Jan. 5) saw the Lakers edge the Suns as four-point road favorites, 99-95. This was the lone game that dipped ‘under’ the total, which closed at 206 ½ points.
Phoenix has played the fewest games in the Western Conference. That’s a good thing considering they are sitting on the outside looking in at all the other playoff teams.
Alvin Gentry’s Suns have now won their last two games after suffering through a four-game losing skid. That includes Sunday’s 108-99 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers at the same venue where they will play Tuesday’s game.
The Suns covered as 1 ½-point road underdogs, leaving their spread record at a poor 31-34-3 overall. However, they are 18-14-2 ATS away from home, including 4-0-1 in their last five road dates.
The combined 207 points in Sunday’s game barely dipped below the 208-point closing total, which enabled the ‘under’ to cash in the Suns’ last six outings. The ‘under’ is also 35-33 in the club’s first 68 overall contests.
Aaron Brooks should be back in the Phoenix lineup against the Lakers. The guard missed Sunday’s game against the Clippers because he was serving a one-game suspension for throwing the ball at an official after receiving a technical foul.
The Lakers are coming of Sunday’s hard-fought 84-80 victory against Portland. Los Angeles did not cover as six-point home favorites, lowering its overall spread record to 34-35-1. In addition, the Lakers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games, which lowered their overall spread mark at Staples Center to 13-20.
The combined 164 points never threatened the 186 ½-point closing total, enabling the ‘under’ to improve to 43-27 in the Lakers’ first 70 encounters.
Phil Jackson’s troops played Sunday’s game without starting center Andrew Bynum, who was serving the first game of a two-game suspension. Bynum was ejected from last Friday’s game against Minnesota after committing a flagrant foul.
Lamar Odom started in place of Bynum and contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds. Kobe Bryant, who scored what turned out to be the winning basket, is currently mired in a shooting slump. The all-star guard is 27-for-77 in his last four games.
Though the Lakers have not allowed their opponents to score triple-digits in 11 straight games, they have not registered 100 markers on offense in eight of their last 10 contests.
The Lakers continue this seven-game homestand Friday against the Clippers. The Suns begin a three-game homestand of their own with a Wednesday contest against the Toronto Raptors.