The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets wrap up a two-game set on Tuesday night with the hope that cooler heads prevail. The Lakers won the first meeting on Sunday 120-102 in a game that was testy throughout with five technical fouls, two flagrant fouls and a pair of ejections. That didn’t prevent the Lakers from winning for the sixth time in seven games overall and for the fifth straight time on the road. They took over the top spot in the Western Conference while the Rockets are flopping having won just three of their first eight contests. Bookmaker.eu is offering a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1000)
Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets
Date and Time: Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Opening NBA Odds: Check Back Later (Live Betting Odds Here)
Lakers at Rockets TV Coverage: NBA TV
The Lakers might want to play all their games on the road this season. Their win on Sunday gave them a perfect 5-0 record in away games, the only team in the Western Conference that has yet to lose outside its own barn. They covered the 4-point line against Houston and have been favored in every away tilt going 3-2 ATS in those games. The Lakers have won six of seven overall and climbed back to the top spot in the conference ahead of the surprising Phoenix Suns with an 8-3 SU and 5-6 ATS ledger. In a year of transition the Rockets are still trying to figure things out. They are 1-3 SU and ATS in their last four games with offense an issue. They’ve played below the total four times with a push in their last five games. Don’t expect the line to stray too far from what we saw on Sunday when the Rockets were getting 4-points with a 224 total.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers can get used to this new schedule setup that has team’s playing consecutive games against the same team at the same venue. All of their road games so far have been under that scenario with sweeps in San Antonio and Memphis. They improved to 5-0 on the road with Sunday’s 120-102 win. The Lakers saw their four-game winning streak end last week at home against San Antonio, 118-109, and they barely got by the Bulls in their next outing, 117-115, without two starters.
Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope both missed the Chicago game giving Frank Vogel a chance to show off his bench. The Lakers shot over 50 percent in that game and hit on 50.5 percent against Houston on Sunday. They are one of the more efficient offensive teams in the NBA ranking third in field goal percentage at 49.3 while averaging 114.5 points. AD returned for the Sunday matchup hitting 9 of 12 from the field for 27 points while KCP added seven points in 22 minutes in his first action in five games.
“Just AD being AD and just having him back in the lineup gives us a whole other dynamic both offensively and defensively,” LeBron James said. James did his part with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. The Lakers returned to their stingy defensive ways after giving up 233 total points in the previous two games.
You really have to wonder what’s going on with the Rockets. They haven’t quite meshed with several new players and new coach Stephen Silas. James Harden is still getting mentioned in trade rumors and DeMarcus Cousins is still acting like an idiot on the floor. He has more ejections than points at this stage. Not quite, but you get the idea. It’s hard to be efficient and successful with so many distractions.
The Rockets got what they needed on Friday with a 132-90 win over Orlando. They had been struggling offensively and had lost two in a row before that matchup. Christian Wood scored 22 points to lead six players in double figures with Silas claiming afterwards that his “concepts are really sinking in more.” It’s hard to change a system in short time, especially after guys like Harden, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker had so much freedom under Mike D’Antoni.
Offense was Houston’s trademark under the former regime and that hasn’t been the case so far this season. The Rockets shot just 29.3 percent from three-point range in Sunday’s loss and they’re hitting only 34.3 percent from deep this season. That’s not going to get it done when they still play the same brand of defense.
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The Rockets should be better than their record and there’s still time to get it together. They have talent with Harden, Wood and John Wall, but the distractions have been overwhelming. Harden will probably get pushed out the door at some point but until that happens, the Rockets are a team in limbo that will come up short more times than not against the better teams in the league. And the Lakers qualify as one of the better teams.
NBA Score Prediction: Lakers 117, Rockets 109
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– Phil Simon, Gambling911.com