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Spurs-Lakers Outlook

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No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers

Series Price: San Antonio -2000, Los Angeles +1200

Series Format: San Antonio, 2-2-1-1-1

Game 1 - Sunday, April 21 (3:30 PM EST, ABC)
Game 2 - Wednesday, April 24 (9:30 PM EST, TNT)
Game 3 - Friday, April 26 (10:30 PM EST, ESPN)
Game 4 - Sunday, April 28 (7:00 PM EST, TNT)
Game 5* - Tuesday, April 30 (TBD)
Game 6* - Thursday, May 2 (TBD)
Game 7* - Saturday, May 4 (TBD)

HEAD TO HEAD COMPARISONS
TEAM SU ATS HOME AWAY OVER/UNDER PPG DPPG
San Antonio Spurs 58-24 39-41-2 35-6 23-18 36-44-2 103.0 96.6
Los Angeles Lakers 45-37 34-46-2 29-12 16-25 42-39-1 102.2 101.0
2012-13 Head to Head Meetings
Date Results Total
04/14/13 San Antonio 86 @ Los Angeles 91 (+3.5) UNDER 196
01/09/13 Los Angeles 105 @ San Antonio 108 (-13.5) UNDER 214
11/13/12 San Antonio 84 (-1) @ Los Angeles 82 UNDER 196

Skinny: The Lakers' chances at the postseason looked dim with a 17-25 record on January 23, but Los Angeles won 28 of its final 40 games to clinch a playoff berth. To make things even more complicated during this roller-coaster season, Kobe Bryant tore his left Achilles' tendon in the final minutes of a two-point victory over Golden State last Friday. Without Bryant, the Lakers beat the Spurs and Rockets as short home underdogs to not only make the postseason, but also grab the seventh seed.

The Spurs aren't playing their best basketball down the stretch, losing seven of their final 10 games to slip to the second seed. San Antonio isn't helping backers at the moment by failing to cover seven straight and posting a 3-15 ATS record in the last 15 overall. As a favorite, Gregg Popovich's club is 2-12 ATS since March 12, as Tony Parker missed 12 games in the final two months due to an ankle injury and rest. Manu Ginobili sat out nine of the final 10 contests with a hamstring injury, but is expected to be active for this series.

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Los Angeles is finally receiving the output from Dwight Howard that was expected when he was acquired by Orlando last summer. The former Defensive Player of the Year pulled down an average of 13.5 rebounds a game over the last two months (23 games), while scoring 21.1 points a game during an 8-1 stretch the final nine contests. Steve Nash is expected to return to the Lakers' lineup after missing the final eight games of the regular season, as L.A. is playing in the postseason without Bryant for the first time since 1996.

Head-to-Head Matchups: These two teams met just three times this season, but the Spurs were able to grab a pair of victories. San Antonio edged Los Angeles at Staples Center, 84-82 in mid-November to barely cash as one-point favorites. The Spurs overcame a five-point halftime deficit, while winning in spite of shooting 39% from the floor. Howard played 40 minutes, but took just nine shots and scored 13 points in the defeat.

In the next meeting in San Antonio on January 9, the Lakers cashed as 13 ½-point underdogs in a 108-105 defeat. Both Howard and Pau Gasol sat out that loss for L.A., as the Lakers received an unexpected jolt off the bench from Earl Clark, who scored 22 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. The game finished just 'under' the inflated total of 214, as a 41-point first quarter derailed any shot of an 'over.'

The Lakers stole the final matchup with the Spurs, which was probably the most important victory all season for Los Angeles. Just two days after Bryant tore his Achilles' tendon, the Lakers managed to knock off the Spurs, 91-86 as 3 ½-point home 'dogs. Howard stepped up with a 26-point, 17-rebound performance, while Steve Blake contributed 23 points in place of Nash in the backcourt. The victory snapped a four-game skid against the Spurs that dated back to April 2012.

Betting Notes: One of the reasons the Lakers fell into a deep hole through the first three months of the season was the ineptitude on the highway. Los Angeles began the campaign at 1-8 ATS as a road 'dog, while posting a 5-15 ATS record in this role. The Lakers dropped four of their first as a home 'dog, but won and covered in their final two opportunities against the Spurs and Rockets to close the season.

The Spurs put together a mediocre 19-20-2 ATS record at home this season, but compiled an 8-4-1 ATS mark as home 'chalk' between eight and 9 ½ points, which will likely be the number for the four games played at the AT&T Center. As a road favorite, San Antonio began the campaign at 11-5 ATS, but stumbled to a 4-10 ATS finish since January 3.

Series Outlook: It's tough to believe the Lakers will pick up four wins without the scoring punch of Bryant, but Los Angeles is playing with momentum at the moment. Meanwhile, the Spurs need to flip the switch, which was easier last season when San Antonio entered the playoffs riding a 10-game winning streak. The Spurs will advance to the second round, but it will take them six games to finish off the veteran Lakers.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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