Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs (-13.5, 214)
The Los Angeles Lakers are dragging along with a four-game losing skid and things don’t figure to get better when they face the angry San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. San Antonio had won eight of nine games before succumbing to the lowly New Orleans Hornets on Monday, a loss that makes for bad timing for Los Angeles to show up in town. The Lakers are just 5-11 on the road and the Spurs are 14-2 at home.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich succinctly described the loss to the Hornets this way: “They did a great job at both ends of the court. They just whipped us.” The Spurs committed 19 turnovers in the sloppy, uncharacteristic effort. Los Angeles will again be without center Dwight Howard (shoulder) and forwards Pau Gasol (concussion) and Jordan Hill (hip). The shorthanded Lakers played well early in Tuesday’s 125-112 loss to the Houston Rockets before wilting over the final 17 minutes. “We could offer up a number of excuses,” said point guard Steve Nash, “but what is troubling is when we were healthy, we weren’t stopping people, either.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, Time Warner Cable SportsNet (Los Angeles), KENS (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE LAKERS (15-19, 13-20-1 ATS): L.A. is 1-9 against the spread as an underdog this year after failing to cover at Houston last night as an 8-point dog. That was the biggest underdog line the Lakers had seen all season until tonight where they're a 13.5-point dog. Los Angeles doesn’t yet know long it will be without Howard, who matched his career-high with 26 rebounds in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets before the severity of his shoulder injury was discovered the next day. Rookie Robert Sacre started in his place against Houston and had 10 points and four blocked shots but grabbed just three rebounds. Forward Metta World Peace scored a season-high 24 points against the Rockets and is miffed over the team’s troubles. “I thought we had the better team,” World Peace said while comparing his injury riddled team with the Rockets. “We definitely had the better team, but every night we have the better team and it’s just not translating to wins.” Kobe Bryant scored 20 points to end a streak of 17 consecutive games with 27 or more points.
ABOUT THE SPURS (27-10, 22-14-1 ATS): San Antonio has won 10 consecutive home games dating back to Nov. 19 when they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs defeated the Lakers 84-82 on Nov. 11 in Los Angeles when guard Danny Green hit the game-winning 3-point basket with 9.3 seconds remaining. Green has struggled of late and missed all five of his shots while going scoreless in the loss to New Orleans. Green has reached double digits just once in the last six games. Veteran guard Manu Ginobili has averaged 20 points and made 56.5 percent of his field-goal attempts over the past two games to raise his season average to 12.7.
* Lakers are 1-9 ATS as an underdog this season
* Favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Under is 19-7 in the last 26 meetings in San Antonio.
* Under is 19-7 in the last 26 meetings.
* Road team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
1. San Antonio has won the last three regular-season meetings with the Lakers.
2. The Spurs are 17-4 when forcing 15 or more turnovers.
3. Gasol will be re-examined Thursday in hopes of determining a return date. He suffered the concussion on Sunday.