LOS ANGELES LAKERS (22-26)
at BROOKLYN NETS (28-19)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: Brooklyn -4, Total: 196
The Lakers are looking to win their third straight road game when they head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets Tuesday night.
After dropping eight straight contests away from home, L.A. has won its past two road games, beating Minnesota by 11 points on Friday and edging Detroit by one point on Sunday. The well-rested Nets are wrapping up a four-game homestand on Tuesday where they are 2-1 SU (1-2 ATS) so far, edging 5-point underdog Chicago by four points in their last game on Friday. But Brooklyn hasn't beaten the Lakers since Nov. 25, 2007, dropping nine straight meetings SU, but covering in each of those past four defeats. Los Angeles C Dwight Howard (16.5 PPG, NBA-high 11.9 RPG, 2.4 BPG) is questionable for the game with a shoulder injury.
Can the Lakers extend their road winning streak on Tuesday? 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 an outstanding 31-12 (72%) in the past 11 days with StatFox Brian going 10-3 (77%), StatFox Gary at 11-4 (73%), and StatFox Scott at 10-5 (67%) since Jan. 25. For the season, Scott is a whopping 59% (72-50) in Totals, while Gary is a solid 52.1% (62-57-4). For NBA Best Bets, the experts are a collective 24-18 ATS (57%) over the past six days, with StatFox Dave going 9-5 ATS (64%) over this stretch. Scott is 9-3 ATS (75%) in his past seven days of Best Bets and is now 55% ATS (73-61-1) for the season.
Los Angeles ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring at 102.3 PPG, but has allowed the sixth-most points in the league at 100.8 PPG. But the defense has improved during the team's 5-1 surge, allowing just 95.8 PPG on 44% FG. In the most recent game against Detroit on Sunday, PF Pau Gasol looked a lot more like the All-Star he used to be than the sixth man he’s been under Mike D’Antoni. Gasol had a game-high 23 points (10-of-18 FG) plus 10 rebounds, and is now averaging 22.5 PPG and 11.0 RPG over the past two contests. PF Earl Clark has provided a huge spark for Los Angeles and is averaging 13.8 PPG and 10.0 RPG over the past four games with Sunday's double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers recent success, however, is due in large part to the transformation of SG Kobe Bryant. Bryant ranks third in the NBA in scoring this season at 27.7 PPG, but has been the distributor for the Lakers over the past five contests. In those games, Bryant is averaging 17.4 PPG, 9.4 APG and 7.4 RPG.
The Nets are coming off a win over the Bulls last Friday in which C Brook Lopez led the way for Brooklyn with 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Lopez has remained a staple for this Nets team as he has been consistent the entire season. Lopez is averaging 19.2 PPG on 56.9% shooting from the field over the past five games. But the 7-footer had just four rebounds in 29 minutes of action, giving him six straight games of seven rebounds or less. PG Deron Williams averages 16.8 PPG and 7.7 APG, but he has been very passive over the past two games, averaging only 10.0 PPG and 5.5 APG in those games. He’ll need to improve this production if the Nets are going to play at a high level. SG Joe Johnson has also severely struggled, shooting just 38.1% from the field over the past five games, which has got him an average of just 13.2 PPG. He is scoring 17.0 PPG this season and 17.7 PPG on his career, so it is important that he starts to produce more points as well.