New Orleans Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Tip-off: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 – 10:30 PM ET
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
The Los Angeles Lakers should be focused on not making many mistakes if they want to make an eighth straight NBA playoff appearance. Instead they should be extremely confident in their ability to beat the New Orleans Hornets. Now that Metta World Peace is back YouWager experts think they should be feeling better about their chances.
The Lakers (40-37) won 11 of their first 14 after the All-Star break to grab a one-game lead for the Western Conference’s eighth seed, but it’s slipped a bit over the last three weeks. Sunday’s 109-95 defeat versus the Los Angeles Clippers was the Lakers’ fifth in nine games, and after the Utah Jazz’s 97-90 victory versus the Golden State Warriors later that night, Los Angeles found itself a half-game behind Utah for the last playoff spot.
The Jazz also own the tiebreaker.
Steve Nash will possibly miss his fourth straight with a hamstring injury on Tuesday, but the Lakers should get a surprise return from the 33 year-old World Peace. The player suffered his knee injury March 25 at Golden State and Los Angeles considered he’d be out until early May — if the Lakers were even still playing then — but he’s been cleared to go after recovering from surgery in less than two weeks.
The Lakers could really use an additional 3-point threat, and World Peace averages a team-best 2.0 per game, shooting 34.7 percent overall from beyond the arc. Los Angeles is shooting 31.8 percent from long distance in this nine-game stretch, with Bryant shooting a woeful 17.9 percent (7 of 39).
New Orleans makes it toStaples for the fourth game of a five-game road trip, but the Hornest should feel somewhat good about themselves after winning away from home Sunday for the first time since the All-Star break. Anthony Davis had 20 points as the team beat the Phoenix Suns 95-92 for their first victory away from home since Feb. 11.
Ryan Anderson has averaged 20.3 points in the three meetings versus Los Angeles, while Greivis Vasquez has averaged 15.3 points and 12.0 assists.