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NBA Betting Preview : Bulls at Lakers

December 25, 2011

Two of the NBA’s top three favorites to win the NBA title this season meet in one of the league’s five Christmas Day openers when the Chicago Bulls visit the Los Angeles Lakers , with L.A. a 1-point NBA basketball bets favorite on

The big story here is the status of Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who tore ligaments in his shooting hand in the preseason opener and missed the second preseason game, says he will play. Kobe has played all 82 games in three of the past four seasons.

Bryant says the wrist is still painful, but that “It’s always been in my nature to try to figure out a way to play.” If he opted for surgery, Bryant would miss about four months. In December 2009, Bryant sustained a fractured right index finger six weeks into the season and continued to play, but it hurt for several minutes whenever the finger got hit in a game.

Kobe Bryant Out for Game??

The Lakers won the championship that season and Bryant was the Finals MVP. Bryant fired up a few left-handed free-throw and three-point attempts before an exhibition game Wednesday against the Clippers. He did not take part in Thursday’s practice and said he would “probably” shoot right-handed Sunday.

The Lakers begin the season with three games in three days, following up Sunday with games Monday at Sacramento and Tuesday at home against Utah. L.A. will play its first five games without center Andrew Bynum, who was suspended for a hit in the Western Conference semifinals series-ending loss to Dallas. And of course this game also marks the debut of new Lakers coach Mike Brown, the former NBA Coach of the Year at Cleveland.

The Bulls are completely healthy. Chicago led the NBA in wins last year and had the league MVP in Derrick Rose. However, the Bulls’ over-dependence on Rose showed in the Eastern Conference Finals five-game loss to Miami. Thus the Bulls added former Piston Richard Hamilton, who will start at shooting guard. He was the only major addition for Chicago, while the only significant loss was former starting guard Keith Bogans. Hamilton played in one exhibition game and shined. The Bulls won both their exhibitions, against the Pacers, while the Lakers were swept by the Clippers.

This contest will mark the second consecutive season the Bulls have played a Christmas Day game. They lost to the New York Knicks 103-95 last year. The Lakers are Christmas staples. Chicago and L.A. split two meetings last year, each winning at home. Rose averaged 29.5 points in the two games.

SA Take and Pick: We think the Lakers are a little beat up and will have to lose this game.  The Bulls are a good squad and are in good shape at the moment and should steal a road victory here. Play the Bulls.

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Sunday, December 25th, 2011 2011-2012, NBA Betting

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