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Lakers battle Wolves

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NBA on TNT Preview

Minnesota vs. L.A. (-10); Total set at 205.5

The Lakers return home after splitting a pair of road games in Dallas and Denver and continue their chase to become playoff bound. Although they didn't play last night, it was one of the better nights of the year for L.A.'s playoff chances as Utah (7th) and Houston (8th) both lost at home while Golden State (6th) lost as well. The Lakers are only 2.5 games out of 8th spot right now and as big favorites tonight, making up ground is more than necessary.

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But covering a big spread like this is a completely different question with L.A. being 0-3 ATS when laying 8 or more points their last three tries and all three of those losses came at home against inferior competition (New Orleans, Phoenix, and Portland). Minnesota falls into that category as injuries and inconsistent play has them bound for another lottery draft spot but don't think for one minute that they won't "get up" to play the Lakers and try to spoil their playoff hopes. Minnesota lost 111-100 in the first meeting this year as a brutal 1st quarter did them in when they couldn't stop the Lakers from scoring at all. The Timberwolves won't make the same mistake tonight and also won't have to deal with Pau Gasol this time around. Gasol was L.A.'s leading scorer that night with 22 points and 12 rebounds as Dwight Howard was out. Howard is still a great player but he doesn't have the versatility that Gasol does offensively and Minnesota has big bodies like Pekovic to bang with Howard inside.

Another thing to take away from that first meeting is the fact that Minnesota had five guys score in double digits and their starting guard tandem of Rubio/Ridnour weren't any of them. Minnesota had numerous options against this porous Lakers defense and if it weren't for shooting 44% from the charity stripe, the T-Wolves could have kept that game quite a bit closer.

Minnesota is 5-1 ATS in their last six trips to the Staples Center to play the Lakers and they are 4-0 ATS in their last four after a loss. A Lakers home game always has the extra half-point or so added to the line because of the Lakers mystique and I believe it's once again too many points for this Lakers team to cover.

Take the points with Minnesota.

  
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