NBA Betting: Kobe Bryant, Lakers host Hornets

By: Adam Markowitz | Saturday, March 26, 2011

The New Orleans Hornets are going to try to make a big-time statement on Sunday night in Tinseltown, and they have a real shot to do it against the Los Angeles Lakers in NBA betting action.

Tip time is set for 6:30 p.m. (PT) from LA's Staples Center.

It's not all peachy for the Hornets, though. They're already handicapped knowing that they are really only right around a .500 team since getting off to that hot start at the outset of the season. Now, head coach Monty Williams knows that he has to do without David West for the rest of the year as well.

Losing West to an ACL injury was one of the worst things that could have happened to New Orleans. West was the team's leading scorer at 18.9 PPG, and he was also the second-leading rebounder at 7.6 RPG.

Chris Paul now has to take over as the top scorer and the top distributor, and that just isn't going to cut it in all likelihood.

The good news is that CP3 can do it all in small spurts. He is averaging 16.4 PPG and 9.8 APG. He's also a decent rebounder at 4.0 RPG as well. Paul will still need a lot of help from the rest of his scorers.

Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor, Marco Belinelli and Carl Landry are all double-digit scorers on an average basis, but the one to really watch out for is Landry.  The 6-foot-9 forward out of Purdue is the newcomer of the bunch and the one that is the most likely to pick up the scoring slack that West is leaving behind.

Meanwhile, it's just another great season for the Lakers. They haven't lost a game since getting beaten at Miami back on March 10, but the NBA betting public hates the fact that they are 0-4 ATS over the course of their last four overall.

This is the sixth of a seven-game homestand that has put Los Angeles back in the driver's seat for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference standings. There's still a chance that LA can snag the top spot in the conference as well, but that's going to take some great play and a heck of a lot of luck down the stretch.

Kobe Bryant has come up with tremendous back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns. He scored 37 points and had six assists with four rebounds against the Clips, but that wasn't his best game. Bryant put up 42 points, pulled in 12 rebounds and added nine helpers in the win against the Suns in OT.

He's now averaging 25.1 PPG, and he's the man that can take over for head coach Phil Jackson at any point, just as he has for his entire career.

The Hornets just haven't had a chance in this series this season. They have lost all three duels, including the Jan. 7 matchup here at Staples Center. However, that was the one of the three clashes that did end with New Orleans beating the NBA odds. The other good news for the Hornets is that the underdog is 14-3 ATS over the course of the last 17 meetings in this series.

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