NBA schedule-makers are never going to be accused of being Los Angeles Lakers fans heading into Game 4 on Saturday night, especially with the squad coming off a hard-fought 99-96 victory as three-point home favorites on Friday.
Las Vegas oddsmakers are definitely aware that the youth of the Oklahoma City Thunder holds an advantage in playing on back-to-back nights, establishing them as one-point road favorites, while the total stands at 189.
Los Angeles trails 2-1 in this best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series in the 2012 NBA playoffs, but managed to post a mediocre 10-9 record when playing on back-to-back days during the regular season.
The Lakers shouldn't be counted out when the ball tips inside the Staples Center at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT, as they've compiled an impressive 80-18 record inside the building since it opened before the 1999-2000 campaign. The team has also managed to win 14 consecutive home playoff games against the Thunder franchise.
Oklahoma City may have suffered its first postseason loss in Game 3, but it has a great chance of bouncing back due to landing in a great situational spot. The Thunder are 14-6 when playing the second game of a back-to-back situation, while posting a 15-3 mark following a loss this year.
It's going to be very difficult for the Lakers to even this series heading back to the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City on Monday night for Game 5, considering the Thunder have won their last three games by an average of 21.3 points when playing off a loss the following day.
There's a lot going on at the Staples Center these days, with the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Kings also using the venue for postseason action this weekend, causing the Lakers' first back-to-back situation in the playoffs since 1999.
It will be too much to overcome, especially with Kobe Bryant shooting just 36.8 percent from the field on tired legs through the first three games of the series.
Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -1
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