NBA Playoffs 2011 TV Schedule TNT: Lakers at Hornets Spread Pick Senior Sports Handicapper Matt Rivers has a winner for Thursday is on the New Orleans Hornets (+6) hosting the LA Lakers.

Reasoning: Every time of late the Lakers take one step forward they then seem to take one step back and I can see that once again happening today. Yes Los Angeles did come through in that last game fairly easily after the ugly first quarter and yes Phil Jackson’s squad is clearly the more talented team. But with that said I just do not trust them right now.

New Orleans is not a team that is loaded with talent, I understand that. It’s pretty much Chris Paul and a bunch of role players with David West out but those guys have stepped up beautifully a lot of the time and now back home to get half a dozen is fine with me. Guys like Aaron Gray, Jarrett Jack, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry form a pretty together team right now that at home should be able to compete from start to finish. Game three was a Los Angeles outclassing but then game four was a New Orleans outright. In game five at Staples the Lakers flexed their muscles once again but I can see another semi regression here.

Pau Gasol has not been very good for the bulk of the series and the Lakers haven’t been all that at all for a while now. Plus Kobe is not close to 100% and in the end at home the Hornets are going to have some sting and quite possibly extent this series to a seventh game.

Top expert pick on this game: New Orleans from Matt Rivers

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