2011 NBA Playoffs Betting Previews: Lakers -5.5, Portland -4

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
2011 NBA Playoffs Betting

Sportsbook.comLine/Total: Los Angeles -5.5 & 183

The Lakers are breathing a little easier after Kobe Bryant played through his ankle injury and they pulled out a win in Game 5. Their return to New Orleans Thursday night certainly won’t be easy though.

In Tuesday night’s Game 5 win, Bryant played through a sprained ankle suffered in Game 4, logging only 28 minutes but scoring 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting. A better performance from Pau Gasol (16 points, eight rebounds), sharp-shooting from Derek Fisher (13 points on 5-for-6 FG, 2-for-3 from three), and Andrew Bynum’s low-post dominance (18 points, 10 rebounds) helped make up for the slightly hobbled Bryant. After falling behind by nine after the first quarter, L.A. controlled the game in a 106-90 win. The keys to the win were simple. The Lakers went to the line frequently and converted (25-30 FT), and they owned the boards, outrebounding the Hornets 42-25, including 15 offensive rebounds to New Orleans’ three.

There were some bright spots for the Hornets in Game 5. Shooting guard Marco Belinelli finally showed up, scoring 21 while shooting 8-for-14 from the field and 3-for-5 from three. The Lakers still haven’t been able to contain Chris Paul (24.4 PPG, 11.6 APG, 6.4 RPG in series), who had 20 points and 12 assists on Tuesday. But getting beat that badly on the boards is how you can shoot 49.3% from the field, and hit 10-of-21 threes, but still lose by 16.

With a chance to close out the series, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson says he’s open to giving Bryant more minutes if needed. But the fact is, if Gasol and Bynum outplay Emeka Okafor and Carl Landry as badly as they did in Game 5 (and from a talent standpoint, they should), L.A. should pull away before the final minutes.

Since the 2008 playoffs, the Lakers are 11-1 SU and 9-3 ATS when they have a chance to close out a series.


Sportsbook.comLine/Total: Portland -4 & 183

Home-court advantage has been key in the Mavericks-Blazers first-round series with no team winning on the road. The series shifts to Portland on Thursday night, and the Blazers have won 12 of their past 13 games at the noisy Rose Garden.

Dallas is looking for its first win in Portland this year where it is 0-4. Luckily Dallas is up 3-2 in the series after an impressive 93-82 home win on Monday. The Mavs recorded 20 offensive rebounds and Tyson Chandler grabbed 13 of them. Chandler (6.0 PPG 10.0 RPG in series) finished with 14 points and 20 rebounds on only four field-goal attempts. Dirk Nowitzki has been great all series long, averaging 26.2 PPG and shooting 50 percent from behind the arc. Dallas’ play often reflects how Nowitzki is playing. In the three victories, Nowitzki is averaging 28.6 PPG, but that drops to 22.5 PPG in the two defeats. Jason Kidd also spread the ball very well in Game 5 by dropping 14 assists and getting everyone involved.

Portland loves to play at its rambunctious and energetic home court. The Blazers were 30-11 at the Rose Garden during the regular season compared to 18-23 on the road. The home team has won nine in a row in this matchup over the past two years. Portland would love a spark off the bench like it received from Brandon Roy in Game 4 when he scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and led the Trail Blazers back from 23 points down. Roy (9.4 PPG in series) finished with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting in that contest. Game 5 was a different story for Roy who only scored five points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field. He is an important part of Portland’s offense and must get in a rhythm and play well. The Blazers’ new leader, LaMarcus Aldridge (20.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG in series), will have to battle down low with a tough defender Tyson Chandler. Aldridge only managed 12 points in the 93-82 defeat Monday.

Dallas has been good against the spread on the road notching a 27-16 ATS record (63%) this season. Even with the series at 3-2, the Mavs are 5-0 ATS in the series with nine straight ATS victories overall. Dallas is also 15-8 ATS (65%) against Northwest Division opponents. Portland, who is 24-18 ATS (57%) at home, is a surprising 3-10 ATS when being favored by 3.5 to 6 points. The Blazers have been hot as of late at home though, going 9-4 ATS in their past 13 home games.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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