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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets
NBA: Saturday, January 18, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, 8:30 PM ET
The Los Angeles Lakers were hoping to record the tenth consecutive win for the second time this season, but the Orlando Magic had other plans as they beat them in a tight game at Staples Center. Following that loss to Orlando, the Lakers dropped to a 33-8 record, but are still at the top of the Western Conference with four wins ahead of the Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers.
The Houston Rockets suffered three defeats in the last four games, including the latest two to the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers. Houston now dropped to a 26-14 record and is in the 5th position in the West.
These conference rivals met four times in 2018-19, and the Rockets won three of those encounters. Houston was better in eight of the previous ten H2H meetings.
The Lakers fell short to the shorthanded Magic at homeLos Angeles failed to secure the tenth straight win as they fell short to the Orlando Magic at Staples Center, even though the visitors played without some key players. The Lakers played well and had 34 assists opposite Orlando's 22, but that wasn't enough to avoid a 119-118 loss. Quinn Cook led Los Angeles with career-high 22 points. LeBron James posted a double-double of 19 points and game-high 19 assists, while Troy Daniels and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 17 points apiece. DeMarcus Cousins (knee) is out for the season, while Anthony Davis (bruised tailbone), Rajon Rondo (finger), and Alex Caruso (concussion) are questionable to take on the Rockets on Saturday.
🎥 Quinn Cook talks about his contributions off the bench, and continuing to learn from the veterans. pic.twitter.com/YZJS3zm3Hs— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 16, 2020
"We've just got to be better," James said. "We didn't start the game out the right way, but I'm not disappointed in anybody or anything that we did. Our bench was the reason there was a game at the end, but they came in and produced everything we needed."
This season, the Lakers have the 6th offense in the NBA that averages 114.0 points per game, and they are facing the Rockets' 23rd defense that allows 114.0 points per contest. The Lakers are the 14th in rebounds with 45.8 and 5th in assists with 26.1 per game.
The Rockets' disappointing offense cost them a win over the BlazersHouston didn't play well in the opening half against the Portland Trail Blazers at home, scoring only 47 points and allowing 60 in return. The Blazers then easily managed to keep a comfortable lead and secure a 117-107 win as they didn't let the Rockets come closer than five points. Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with a triple-double of 31 points, game-high 12 assists, and 11 rebounds. Eric Gordon scored 20 points, Ben McLemore had 17, while Clint Capela posted a double-double of 14 points and game-high 18 boards. James Harden struggled for the second time in the last four games and scored a season-low 13 points, making 3-of-12 shots with eight rebounds, seven dimes, and two blocks.
"Everyone goes through the tough times throughout the course of the year," Harden said. "For us, this is now. We've got to come together and figure out what the problem is and go out there and try to fight through it."
This season, the Rockets have the 2nd offense in the NBA that averages 118.7 points per game, and they are facing the Lakers' 3rd defense that allows 105.4 points per contest. The Rockets are the 5th in rebounds with 47.4 and 27th in assists with 21.6 per game.
- 10-3 ATS in their last 13 Saturday games
- 4-1 ATS in their last five home games
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a home favorite
- 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games playing on two days of rest
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Houston is going through the roughest period of the season, but there is no way to get out of a recent slump than with a win over the best team in the Western Conference. The Rockets have a positive H2H record in the last few years, and they will try to build on it in order to beat the Lakers, who will likely be without star big man Anthony Davis. James Harden vs. LeBron James is a mouth-watering matchup, and even though he is facing one of the best defenders in the history of this game, I am backing The Beard to bounce back from a pathetic 13-point display and lead his team to the victory.
Prediction: Houston Rockets -2 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
The Lakers do have one of the best defenses in the NBA this season, but Houston already struggled offensively in the last week or so, and I don't think that will occur this time around. The Rockets scored 115+ points in each of the previous eight h2H duels at Toyota Center, and I am backing the hosts to score over 115 points here again. The Lakers didn't show offensive weaknesses despite playing without their top scorer Anthony Davis, so I am not concerned about the visitors' offense on Saturday. I expect a high-scoring affair, and I am going with Over.
Prediction: Over 230 (-110)