Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers (28 -29) take on the Houston Rockets (33-24) at Staples Center tonight. The Rockets have won seven of their last 11 games and will be looking to end the regular season on a high note after losing 121-111 in Minnesota on Feb 13. In that game, the Rockets shot only 40 percent from the field and 19 of 53 from the 3-point line. In the first half Houston looked strong but got dominated in the second half where they got outscored 69-53, and they had no answer for Jeff Teague. With that loss, the Rockets fell to 33-24 overall and 13-15 on the road.
Meanwhile, the Lakers lost eight of their last 11 games before the break. They lost in Atlanta 117-113 in their last game, mostly because they shot just 43 percent from the field and 14 of 40 from the 3-point line. They struggled to make a basket when they really needed one, and they only scored 18 points in the fourth quarter after putting up 69 in the first half. With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 28-29 overall and 12-17 on the road. The Lakers will be under a lot of pressure to make the playoffs with Lebron, so Luke Walton will continue to be heavily scrutinized during the home stretch of the season.
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Houston Rockets Starting Lineup
The Rockets have won all three games they’ve played against the Lakers this season. In those three games, they’ve averaged 129.3 points and have given up an average of 120. The Rockets haven’t had James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela all healthy since Dec. 20, and have gone 17-9 since. Hopefully, Capela could go tonight as he’s currently probable with a right thumb injury. They’ve won five games out of six playing with the starting lineup of Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Capela, Harden, and Paul. Chris Paul averaged 9.75 assists and 1.25 turnovers in his last four games before the All-Star break.
Harden has averaged 41.5 points in his 31-game streak scoring at least 30 points. He’s also averaged more than 40 over a span of 34 games, which is the second-longest in NBA history, and the Rockets have gone 22-12 in that stretch. Against the Lakers this season, Harden has played very well averaging 44.7 points on 50.7 percent shooting and 41.5 percent 3-point shooting with an average of 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists.
Some other notable contributors for the Rockets have been Gerald Green averaging 16.3 points on 50 percent shooting in his past 10 games. Iman Shumpert will be out with a sore right knee, and Austin Rivers is probablE as he deals with a sore elbow.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Lakers lost four of five games heading into the break and fell two games back in the race for the last Western Conference playoff spot. The Lakers have been good scoring on the fast-break and rank third in the league in fast-break points but have also allowed the fourth-most points on the break.
In the final game before the All-Star break, LeBron James scored 28 points with 11 rebound, and a season-high 16 assists. James has averaged 26.5 points on 52.5 percent shooting in two games while Kyle Kuzma averaged 22.3 points on 51 percent shooting against the Rockets. Reggie Bullock started the final two games before the break and put up 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting.
The crowd at Staples Lakers should be especially fired up to see Houston and especially Chris Paul. If you remember, last time Chris Paul played at Staples there was a brawl between him Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram. All three of those players were ejected and received suspensions, so it will be interesting to see if things get “personal” between Paul and Rondo again tonight. The Lakers have Josh Hart dealing with tendinitis in his right knee and Mike Muscala dealing with an ankle, but both are probable tonight. Tyson Chandler is questionable with a stiff neck and Lonzo Ball will be out with a sprained ankle.
Rockets vs. Lakers Betting Odds
The Rockets have moved up as a 3 point favorite tonight after opening up -2. Houston is 26-17 this season as a favorite but have a losing road record of 13-15. The Lakers are 7-14 as a dog but have a winning record at home going 16-12 this season at Staples. The over-under is 233 points while the money line has grown from Houston -150 after opening at -130 for Houston.
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