Los Angeles Lakers vs.Oklahoma City Thunder
Tip-off: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 – 9:30 PM ET
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Even though Kobe Bryant is currently playing his 17th NBA season YouWager experts consider he’s still on fire and a huge reason the Los Angeles Lakers have been able to climb back to the .500 mark.
If the 34 year-old can will his team into the playoffs, there’s a chance tonight’s game away from home versus the Oklahoma City Thunder could be a first-round preview.
Bryant scored 34 points, including the go-ahead layup with nine seconds remaining, as Los Angeles (30-30) defeated the Atlanta Hawks 99-98 on Sunday to get back to the break-even mark for the first time since they were 15-15 on Dec. 28.
The Black Mamba scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Lakers to their fifth win in six opportunities.
Bryant is averaging 34.8 points over his last five as the ninth-place Lakers try to get into the Western Conference NBA playoff spot. Los Angeles is within striking distance of the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets for one of the last three spots.
According to coach Mike D’Antoni, Bryant will be the catalyst if the Lakers want to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 2004-05.
By taking a look at the NBA point spread we can tell that slowing Kevin Durant has been the Lakers’ biggest challenge, especially this season. He’s averaging 37.7 points in the three meetings, including 36 in a 114-108 victory Dec. 7 and 42 in a 116-101 win Jan. 11.
Durant netted 35 points in Sunday’s 108-104 victory versus the Los Angeles Clippers, helping Oklahoma City (43-16) hold on after leading by as many as 19 points.
That moved the Thunder 1 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers for second place in the West, though it remains three games back of the San Antonio Spurs.