NBA Betting – Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers

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Since going with their ‘small’ lineup the Houston Rockets are 3-0.

And after trading their top big man prior to the deadline, it appears as though the plan is to stay with an undersized group. There still is time to make a move since I don’t see Houston competing for the Western Conference title without someone to battle the likes of Anthony Davis in the block. Guess what, the Rockets will get a chance to show off their new look against AD, LeBron and the West-best Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

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Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers

Date and Time: Thursday, February 6, 2020, 10:30 p.m. ET

Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Opening NBA Odds: Check Back Later

Rockets at Lakers TV Coverage: TNT

Odds Analysis

Odds have yet to surface with both teams expected to be active ahead of the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline on Thursday. That doesn’t mean moves will be made, though. The Rockets already made a splash by trading Clint Capela, who had been in and out of the lineup with a sore foot. His injury was a reason why the Rockets went small and they are unbeaten in three games since with covers in the last two. Overall Houston is 32-18 currently tied with Utah for fourth in the conference 6.5 games behind the Lakers. Getting back to business following the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers reeled off two straight wins following a stretch where they went 3-4 to make things a tad closer in the standings. 


Houston Rockets

It’s cool to say a switch to the small-ball lineup boosted the Rockets. In reality, it’s because James Harden worked through his shooting woes. Playing without Russell Westbrook and Capela on Tuesday, Harden went for 40 points and just missed a triple-double with 12 assists and nine rebounds. We’re accustomed to seeing those types of numbers from the bearded one, but they were absent for most of January. 

In a seven-game stretch of games that he played last month, Harden shot 33.1 percent from the floor and 18.3 percent from three-point range averaging 24.8 points per game, which was well off his league-leading 35.8 average. Those numbers are bad even for him. The Rockets went 2-5 in those games. To say everyone associated with the team was pleased when he went 6 of 14 from deep with 35 points against the Mavs would be an understatement. Harden followed that with 40 against the Pels prior to his outburst against the Hornets on Tuesday.

There is and will be plenty of talk about the small lineup. So far it’s worked, but it can only be successful if those smalls play and play well. Westbrook’s status is unknown as he deals with a thumb injury, and Eric Gordon is coming off a game where he missed all 12 three-point shots. Houston was able to beat Charlotte, they won’t be so lucky against the Lakers.


Los Angeles Lakers

Losing their first game since the death of Bryant wasn’t a complete shocker. The setback to Portland last week was the Lakers second straight and fourth in seven games. They got back to work by dismantling Sacramento behind the 11th triple-double of the season from LeBron, who had 15 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. “It’s our obligation just to go out and play the game, have that winning mentality because that’s what he would want,” LeBron said about Bryant in the Lakers first win since his passing.

The Lakers will use Bryant as motivation for the remainder of the season. It’s not like they need added incentive, though. They remain the best team in a crowded conference and they’ve gotten contributions from players other than James and AD. Of course those two are critical to the team’s success. The two combine to average 51.6 points per game accounting for 45 percent of the team’s scoring. James leads the NBA with 10.7 assists per game while AD averages 9.1 boards and 2.5 blocks per outing.

Offensively the Lakers continue to score plenty of points. They lead the Association shooting 48.6 percent from field and rank seventh with 114.3 points per game. We have seen a decline on defense recently and that’s led to some high-scoring affairs. They’ve yielded at least 110 points in eight of their last 12 allowing the OVER to cash in three straight games and in 10 of those 12 outings.


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Harden has emerged from an epic shooting slump which should boost Houston’s chances. Indications are that Westbrook is going to play, so the small-ball lineup will be used. The pair combined for 69 points in the first meeting, which the Lakers won without Davis. LeBron had 31 and three other Lakers scored at least 20 to show off the depth. With AD in the lineup and nobody to defend him, this is the Lakers game to lose, and they aren’t going to do that.


NBA Score Prediction: Los Angeles 117, Houston 110

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By Phil Simon


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