2011 NBA Playoffs First Round Betting: Magic-Hawks, Lakers-Hornets

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
2011 NBA Playoffs First Round Betting:  Magic-Hawks, Lakers-Hornets

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Sportsbook.com Line/Total: Los Angeles -5 & 183

After starting the series with a surprising split in L.A., the Lakers and Hornets seem ready for another defensive struggle Friday night in New Orleans.

After Chris Paul torched Derek Fisher and the Lakers in the Hornets’ Game 1 win (32 points, 14 assists), the Lakers changed up their defense and put Kobe Bryant on Paul. It worked well, as Paul was relatively contained (20 points, nine assists) and playing without second option David West, the Hornets didn’t have nearly enough firepower to keep up. The result was an 87-78 win for L.A.

Of course, the Lakers paid a price too. Because he was focusing on his defense, Bryant had a terrible offensive night. After scoring 34 in Game 1, he took only 10 shots and made just three of them in Game 2. His 11-point output was his lowest in a postseason game since Game 3 of the 2004 Finals, a span of 83 playoff games. With Pau Gasol having a second straight terrible night (he’s scored just eight points in each of the first two games of the series, shooting 4-for-19 from the field), Andrew Bynum (17 points on 8-for-11 shooting), Lamar Odom (16 points, 8-12 FG) and Ron Artest (15 points, including two three-pointers) stepped up to lead a balanced Lakers attack.

The Hornets are undermanned, but their deliberate, defensive style works in their favor. Only Portland played at a slower pace than New Orleans during the regular season. The Hornets allowed just 92.3 PPG at home during the regular season.


Sportsbook.com Line/Total: Orlando -2 & 180.5

After having split the first two games of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in Orlando, the Hawks and Magic head to Atlanta for a pivotal Game 3 Friday night.

The Magic squandered Dwight Howard’s 46-point, 19-rebound effort in a 10-point loss on Saturday before bouncing back to even the series on Tuesday behind Howard’s 33 points and 19 boards. Unlike Game 1 when no Orlando player besides Howard and Jameer Nelson scored more than six points, six Magic players tallied eight or more in Game 2.

The Hawks led by as many as 10 in the second quarter, 32-22, before a 12-2 run by the Magic tied it at 34-34. Orlando led 48-42 at halftime and used a 10-1 run to close the third quarter and take an 11-point lead into the fourth. The Hawks battled back, going on a 12-2 run to cut the Magic's lead to 78-76 with 2:14 remaining in regulation. That’s when Jameer Nelson, who played 38 minutes despite having missed part of the Magic's morning shoot-around with a migraine headache, made the key play in the game. He sprinted toward a loose ball, dove onto the parquet floor and collected it before Atlanta’s Kirk Hinrich could, then made a pass that eventually led to a Hedo Turkoglu hoop to culminate the possession. Jason Richardson’s three-pointer with 1:08 left increased Orlando’s margin to 83-76 and put the game out of reach.

Jamal Crawford led Atlanta with 25 points while Josh Smith, playing through an elbow injury, scored 17. The Hawks got 14 points from Joe Johnson and 10 points and 10 rebounds from Al Horford. The Hawks are 4-2 SU and 6-0 ATS in their six meetings with the Magic during the 2010-11 regular and postseasons, and they won both regular-season meetings in Atlanta despite being an underdog both times. That’s a far cry from last postseason’s four-game sweep in which the Hawks lost all four contests by an average of more than 25 points per game.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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