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2008 Season NBA Basketball Past Picks

June 11, 2009

11

Los Angeles at Orlando

Thursday 06/11 09:05 PM Eastern

2 units on Orlando PICK (-110) (risk 2 to return 2)  RESULT: loss

3 units on Game Total UNDER 201 -110 (risk 3 to return 3)  RESULT: win

The Magic had their backs to the wall down in the series 2-0 and came up with perhaps their best offensive performance of the season. They shot 63% from the field and got the win when they needed it. The Magic shifted gears and decided that their best chance against the Lakers was to up-tempo the game. They executed it very well as it wasn't a New York Knicks or Phoenix or Golden State type of running game - it was more controlled. They didn't just come down and take the first available shot, they came down and took the first available good shot, and it was enough to push them over the top. It was a controlled running game as the reality is that they only took 64 shots despite the pace. Lakers backers (and there are tons of them as the public is on them) are saying that if the Magic shot 63% and still only won by four points, the Lakers must be the right side. What goes unnoticed is that the Lakers also had some lights-out shooting themselves last game. They shot well over their average, putting up their best FG% since round one of the playoffs. Kobe put up one of the best halves in NBA Finals history. And, with the Magic up eight points late in the game, the Lakers went 8-for-8 (including two threes) to start the fourth quarter. Without that abnormal shooting, the Lakers lose the last game by double-digits. So, it wasn't just Orlando that had a fluky game. The Lakers have arguably the best player in the game. But, this player is getting tired. In close games, the Lakers still revert to the Kobe show and the last couple games he has not delivered in the fourth quarter. The NBA is a fourth-quarter game and in the fourth, the Lakers turn to Kobe. But, believe it or not he is a 43.6% shooter in the fourth quarter since game one of the season, and he hits just 32.7% of his three pointers. He put up one of the best first-halves in NBA Finals history last game, but then hurt his team in the second half. This continued over-reliance on Bryant keeps the Lakers from taking advantage of their true strength against Orlando which is Pau Gasol, who shoots 56% in the fourth. The game in LA during the regular season saw the Magic outscore the Lakers by seven points in the fourth to win. They won at home after trailing by nine to the Lakers by outscoring them in the third and fourth quarters. The Magic did the same to Cleveland on the road in their upset win in game one, as they beat the Cavs in the fourth to win. They made life difficult for the man everyone knew would have the ball. The OT win vs. Cleveland was the same as the Magic outscored Cleveland in the fourth and OT. I have nothing against Kobe or LeBron here, as they are beyond superstars. But at the same time, they feel the pressure to carry the team down the stretch, and get extra attention in the process, and the numbers don't lie. The Magic won't shoot like they did last game but the Lakers are also likely to cool. The Lakers are playing very good consistent basketball, looking like a team that has been here before. The Magic started awful, possibly showing nerves on the big stage. But they have been steadily improving. The Lakers made 41 shots in game one, 36 in game two and 40 last game. But take a look at the Magic's made shots over the three games: 23, 33, 40. See a pattern? Orlando is gaining confidence and they are a very tough team to beat at home. They are 7-2 here in the playoffs with both of the losses coming by a combined three points. The Lakers were very good on the road during the regular season, but they are a losing road team in the playoffs (4-5). The Magic are 20-6 ATS this season in games with a close line like this (+3 to -3). I look for the Magic to get it done again tonight to even the series. I also like the UNDER. Yes, 212 points were scored last game. But that was the result of both teams shooting lights-out all game. If I told you that the Magic would shoot 75% for the first half and the Lakers would shoot 4% higher than their average, would you have thought that the score would be only 212? Even with that game, the average points these two teams have scored in this series in regulation is 187 per game. As a result of that fluky result last game, we have gained back value as the line has jumped several points from last game. The Lakers have played UNDER to a 17-4 mark after a loss and the Magic have been 27-12 to the UNDER as a home favorite. In their playoff games, these teams have played a combined 26 of 43 UNDER. This season, the Magic are 12-4 UNDER at home after a game in which 205+ points were scored. I like the Magic and the UNDER in game four.

NBA

2008-09 Recent Results

Wins Losses Units
38 31 +3.78

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