The Lakers have aspirations of earning the number two seed in the West. However they’ll need better efforts than they put forth Sunday night to make it a reality. Tonight Kobe and company invade Oracle Arena for a showdown with the Golden State Warriors.

The NBA lines were released with the Lakers favored by -5.5 with the total at 198. Early sports picks have since caused the NBA odds to shift, as the spread has risen half a piont to 6 points, while the total has fallen to 197.5.

Lets breakdown this matchup and decide where we have the best chance of cashing in with our NBA picks tonight.

Los Angeles (30-19 SU, 22-17 ATS) is coming off a 102-96 home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies that dropped them four games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 2 slot in the Western Conference race. The Lakers and Spurs will meet three more times this year.

Slacking off

Lakers vs. WarriorsAfter winning eight of 10, LA has dropped three of five. The Lakers defense, which is allowing an average of 93.4 points per game, has given up at least 102 points in each of its last three losses. LA is one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA at 45.5 per game but has been outrebounded in the past two.

In the loss to Memphis, Andrew Bynum scored 30 points on 11 of 16 shooting, Ramon Sessions added 18 points in just his second start and Pau Gasol finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Kobe Bryant scored 18 but spent much of the fourth quarter, four minutes to be exact, on the bench. Sunday’s performance was the second straight 18-point effort from Bryant, who is averaging 22.0 points on 37.1 percent shooting in the last five games.

Sessions has been a godsend for the Lakers. The talent has always been there but he’s been a back-up for most of his career. In five games with the Lakers, Sessions is averaging 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game.  

Golden State (20-27 SU, 25-22 ATS)

The Lakers will be facing a Warriors team that is without two players who have given the Lakers fits over the years. Monta Ellis (20.6 points per game) was traded to Milwaukee at the deadline and Stephen Curry (14.2 ppg) is still out after re-injuring his sprained ankle on March 13.

David Lee is the best of the bunch averaging a double-double (19.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game). Rookie Klay Thompson the deadeye shooter from Washington State is averaging 19.7 points per game since being inserted into the starting lineup nine games ago. Overall he’s averaging 10.2 points per game overall and shooting an impressive 43 percent from the field and from beyond the arc.

The Warriors have lost six of eight, averaging 92.7 points in those defeats. The Lakers are 8-2 in their past 10 trips to Oracle Arena, good news for a team that continues to struggle on the road (10-15 SU). 

In addition to Curry, the Warriors injured list also includes Andrew Bogut who has a fractured left ankle, Andris Biedrins (strained right groin) and Nate Robinson (strained right hamstring) who is a game-time decision.

Black Mamba by the Bay

Kobe has averaged 30.9 points in the previous 10 and has enjoyed similar success against Golden State.

In the Lakers’ lone matchup of the season with the Warriors on Jan. 6, Bryant had 39 points on 13 of 28 shooting in a 97-90 win. Los Angeles has won 13 of the last 14 meetings, and Bryant is averaging 28.4 points in 16 games against Golden State since 2007-08.

This could be a record setting night for Kobe who needs 25 points to move ahead of Michael Jordan on the NBA franchise career points list.

The Lakers star currently has 29,235 points, having surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer. Yet, in the history of the NBA, only two players have scored more points with a single franchise — Karl Malone (36,374) and Jordan (29,277). Last season, Bryant passed Hakeem Olajuwon (26,511) and John Havlicek (26,395).

Harvey’s Take: The Lakers can’t be trusted in the ATS department so whether they’re playing the Heat or the Warriors they aren’t getting any more of my money. The play tonight is on the ‘over’. I repeat. Avoid the Lakers and good luck!