Lakers Near Even Favorites to Win 2009 NBA Championship

Written by:
Tyrone Black
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Want the nearest thing to a "sure bet" with barely a risk?

The Los Angeles Lakers were a -116 favorite to win the 2009 NBA Championship at heading into Friday night's game.  Their odds of getting to the Finals were quite good.  In order for the Denver Nuggets to make the Finals they would need to win the remaining two games in the Playoffs series against LA.  The Lakers have not lost back-to-back games since March. 

The Nuggets might very well be the better team in the Western Conference finals, with a deeper bench, more muscle and better health than the tired, injured and often disjointed Lakers. But they also tend to implode at the worst times.

"For most of the series, we outplayed them for most stretches of the game," Chauncey Billups said. "We just couldn't get over the hump in the fourth quarter in a few different situations."

Denver has committed 11 technical fouls in this series and defensive stud Dahntay Jones is one more flagrant-1 foul away from a suspension.

Coach George Karl said he won't rein in his players for Game 6 in Friday night in Denver, however.

"You guys are almost saying you've got to have savvy and poise to be a championship team," Karl told reporters Thursday. "I mean, you think the Detroit Pistons have the poise that the San Antonio Spurs have? No, I mean there's a different way of handling emotional, passionate, intense players. We have some guys who are emotional. Maybe a little too emotional. But for me, I'm not going to tell them to stop that because I think that stops them from becoming a competitor.

"Right now, we're competing on the best stage on a pretty good level. I think the Lakers know we're there."

Unlike the Orlando/Cleveland series where the Magic have dominated Against The Spread over the last ten games, the Lakers and Nuggets have essentially split the series. 

Denver was a -5 ½ favorite at home Friday night.

Tyrone Darnell Black,        

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