NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (15-29)
at LOS ANGELES LAKERS (19-25)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -7.5, Total: 195.5
The Lakers look to complete their first three-game win streak since Christmas when they host the Hornets on Tuesday night.
New Orleans has been playing great basketball in the past three weeks, going 8-4 SU (9-3 ATS) in its past 12 games. The Hornets are in the midst of a five-game road trip that started with a surprising 91-83 win over 7.5-point favorite Memphis on Sunday. Los Angeles is 2-0 (SU and ATS) on its current homestand that wraps up on Tuesday night, crushing the Jazz 102-84 on Friday and then taking down the Thunder 105-96 on Sunday. Including playoffs, the Lakers are 15-3 SU (9-9 ATS) in their past 18 meetings with the Hornets, and their 103-87 win in New Orleans on Dec. 5 gives L.A. eight straight regular-season wins (5-3 ATS) in this series.
Can the Lakers extend their win streak with an emphatic victory? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Totals, the experts are a stellar 14-3 (82%) in the past four days with StatFox Brian a perfect 4-0 and StatFox Gary going 7-1 since Friday. StatFox Scott is also 12-7 (63%) since Jan. 15, boosting his impressive season NBA Totals record to 65-47 (58%). For Best Bets, Scott is 4-3 ATS (57%) in the past five days to boost his season Best Bets mark to 53% ATS (64-58-1). Brian is at 51.1% ATS (69-66-3) while Gary is an even 50% ATS for the season. StatFox Dave is 7-6 ATS (54%) since Friday.
The New Orleans offense has been clicking in the past seven games with 100.3 PPG on 47.3% FG and 39.0% threes. This is a huge jump from its 91.9 PPG on 44.3% FG in the first 37 games of the 2012-13 campaign. SF Ryan Anderson (17.0 PPG) has pumped in 18.1 PPG during these seven games, knocking down 47% of his shots and 39% from downtown. This includes making 7-of-13 three-pointers in Sunday's upset of the Grizzlies. He never fared too well against the Lakers in his first four seasons in the NBA (8.3 PPG on 39% FG), but he lit them up for 31 points (5-of-8 threes) and nine rebounds in the Dec. 5 loss. Another big part of this team's scoring surge has to do with the return of SG Eric Gordon (16.8 PPG) to the court. In his past seven games, Gordon has scored 17.9 PPG on 47% FG and 46% threes (13-of-28). He has not faced the Lakers since the 2010-11 season, but during the three games in that campaign, Gordon scored 20.3 PPG on 50% FG (7-of-15 threes). Rookie C Anthony Davis (12.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG) will be facing the Lakers for the first time in his career, and he's been playing very well in the past eight games with 11.6 PPG on 63% FG with 7.9 RPG and 2.0 BPG. PG Greivis Vasquez (13.8 PPG, 9.2 APG) continues to distribute the rock at a blistering pace, racking up 10.2 APG in his past 16 games. He also has 15.0 PPG on 40% threes during this stretch.
The Lakers defense has been abysmal this season, allowing 101.0 PPG (5th-worst in NBA), but they have surrendered 100 points just twice in the past eight games. During this span, opponents have just 96.1 PPG on 44.5% FG and 27.5% threes. But offensively, L.A. has posted 102.4 PPG (6th-best in the NBA) while grabbing 44.9 RPG (3rd in league). SG Kobe Bryant (28.7 PPG, 3rd in NBA) is shooting a career-best 47.0% FG and has not scored fewer than 14 points in any of his 44 games this season. But during his team's two-game surge, he has focused more in other areas, averaging 14.0 APG and 9.0 RPG to go along with 17.5 PPG on 68% FG. In the Dec. 5 meeting with New Orleans, Bryant had a well-rounded 29 points (10-of-17 FG), six rebounds, four assists and three steals. C Dwight Howard (16.5 PPG) leads the NBA with 12.0 RPG and his 2.4 BPG rank fifth in the league. Swirling trade rumors appear to have affected his performance though, as Howard has scored just 8.0 PPG with 7.2 RPG and 1.2 BPG in his past five games. He did have 18 points, eight boards and five blocks in the Dec. 5 win over the Hornets, but Anthony Davis did not play that game because of an ankle injury. Lakers PG Steve Nash (11.5 PPG, 8.1 APG) and PF Pau Gasol (12.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG) also missed that previous meeting due to injury. Nash, who has 14.6 PPG on 51% FG (9-of-15 threes) in his past five games, is very familiar with the Hornets. He's faced them 20 times since the 2006-07 season began, and is averaging 15.5 PPG (52% FG) and 11.0 APG against them during this span. Gasol has started to play better offensively with 16.8 PPG and 7.2 RPG over his past five games, but is just 8-for-18 (44%) from the foul line in the past three contests.