NBA Matchup: Los Angeles Lakers @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Los Angeles Lakers @ Cleveland Cavaliers Weds. Feb. 16, 2011 7:30 p.m. EST

The two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers are still amongst the best teams in the league coming into Wednesday night’s matchup against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, but they have hit some serious bumps in the road during their seven-game road trip. Even though they were able to get the best of the arch rival Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks during their four-game winning streak, the defending champs have stumbled as of late with two straight losses to the Orlando Magic and the Charlotte Bobcats.

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Ron Artest

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Despite the loss to the Magic not being that much of a surprise as the Lakers were coming off tough matchups against the Celtics and the Knicks, losing the Bobcats in Charlotte was devastating to say the least. Not only was Kobe Bryant suffering from flu-like symptoms and in need of some rest, but the Lakers just fell apart defensively against the Bobcats and were blown out by 20.

A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a bad loss against the Boston Celtics on their home floor at the Staples Center. As a result, the consensus around the league was that the Lakers just couldn’t compete with the best of the best in the NBA anymore and were in need of making a trade in order to get back on track.

At first the Lakers were looking to deal their defensive specialist Ron Artest. Even though there were some talks with the Charlotte Bobcats involving players like Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, a deal was never made and Artest will still be in a Lakers uniform for at least a little while longer.

The one proposed trade that really made headlines was the Denver Nuggets sending their superstar forward Carmelo Anthony to Los Angeles in exchange for center Andrew Bynum. This trade rumor really started to pick up steam late last week, but nothing has come of it just yet.

Currently, the Lakers are riding a two-game losing streak heading into Cleveland to take on arguably the worst team in the league in the Cavaliers. Even though the Lakers are still well above .500 at 38-18 they have just lost two games they should’ve won against the Magic and the Bobcats, the Cavs getting the best of the two-time NBA champs is a stretch, but not beyond the realm of possibility.

As of right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are heavily favored to come out on top against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a -11 point spread. Despite the Lakers recent struggles and never ending trade rumors, I believe they will get back on track once again with a big win over the Cavaliers.

Even though I firmly believe that the Lakers have an opportunity to blow this game wide open against the Cavs on Wednesday, taking the Cavs at +11 might be the wise decision.

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