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Friday, August 01, 2014         

NBA


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Lakers picked to win third straight NBA title


Bloomberg News

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The Los Angeles Lakers' talent, experience and popularity make them the oddsmakers' favorite to capture a third straight NBA championship.

The Lakers are a 5-2 pick to win the NBA Finals, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which advises Nevada's sports books on betting lines. The Miami Heat are the second favorite at 3-1, while the New York Knicks — back in the playoffs for the first time in seven years — have 40-1 championship odds, the ninth best among 16 playoff teams.

The Lakers were the last franchise to win three titles in a row, from 2000 through 2002. Their 16 championships trail the Boston Celtics by one for the most in league history and they're led by Kobe Bryant, a 13-time All-Star who's seeking to match Michael Jordan with his sixth ring.

NBA FAVORITES

TEAM ODDS
Los Angeles Lakers 5-2
Miami Heat 3-1
Chicago Bulls 4-1
San Antonio Spurs 5-1
Boston Celtics 7-1
Oklahoma City Thunder 12-1
Orlando Magic 15-1
Dallas Mavericks 18-1
New York Knicks 40-1
Denver Nuggets 50-1
Portland Trail Blazers 60-1
Atlanta Hawks 100-1
New Orleans Hornets 100-1
Philadelphia 76ers 150-1
Memphis Grizzlies 150-1
Indiana Pacers 200-1

"They've been there and done it," Sports Consultants oddsmaker Andrew Patterson said of the Lakers in a telephone interview yesterday from Las Vegas. "They're two-time world champions and Kobe has been unbelievable. With their West Coast appeal, you know where the money is going to come in."

The Lakers open their first-round series Sunday in Los Angeles against the New Orleans Hornets after losing five of their final seven games to end the regular season.

It was the Lakers' fourth losing streak of three or more games this season, when they finished fourth in the league with a 57-25 record.

The Bulls, with the league's best record at 62-20, have 4-1 championship odds.

"Everybody is saying we can't do it, that we just got together, that you need two or three years of chemistry before you can be a championship team," said forward Carlos Boozer, who signed a five-year, $80 million deal with the Bulls in the offseason. "We realize the history of the league and all that, but it's not going to stop us from trying."






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