It’s only been two games, but the Los Angeles Lakers have looked like a different team recently.
After falling to a season-low eight games under .500, L.A. has strung together two straight victories. Led by Kobe Bryant, the Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder this past weekend by an average of 13.5 points. The Thunder have the second-best record in the West, while the Jazz hold the No.7 seed in the conference.
L.A. will look to continue their strong play on Tuesday night when they host the New Orleans Hornets. The contest is set to tip off at 7:30 p.m. pacific time at Staples Center. Viewers can watch the contest live on NBA TV.
Bryant has played a key role in the Lakers recent success. The shooting guard, who has led the NBA in scoring for most of the season, has changed the way he’s played of late. Bryant has passed more and has led L.A. to victories by scoring a total of just 35 points in his past two games.
The future Hall of Famer has nearly posted a triple-double in both games. He dished out 14 assists in each contest, both of which were higher than his number of shot attempts.
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With Bryant establishing himself as a facilitator, rather than the main scoring option, the rest of the Lakers offense has thrived. Pau Gasol hit 14 of his 18 shot attempts and Los Angeles broke the century mark in both wins.
After facing a few tough teams, L.A. gets a bit of a respite with the Hornets. New Orleans is 14 games under .500, and is only putting up 93.2 points per game. They have trouble scoring against most teams, and may struggle to take advantage of the Lakers slow defense.
Betting Line: Los Angeles -7.5, 196
Prediction: Los Angeles 101, New Orleans 89