Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

WSN Picks: Los Angeles Lakers to defeat the Houston Rockets.

How to Watch

What: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

When: Thursday, 6 February 2020, 10:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TNT | 790 KBME & 740 KTRH / 850 KEYH & 101.7 FM, 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES

Houston Rockets (Away)

Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni {All-Time 659-517 | DEN, PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

Season Record: 31-18

Projected Starting Five: (G) Russell Westbrook – (G) James Harden – (G) Eric Gordon – (F) Danuel House – (F) PJ Tucker

Top Performers

  • (G) James Harden – 37.1 MPG | 35.7 PPG | 7.2 APG | 6.5 RPG
  • (G) Russell Westbrook – 35.9 MPG | 26.4 PPG | 8.0 RPG | 7.4 RPG
  • (G) Eric Gordon – 30.1 MPG | 15.7 PPG | 2.0 RPG | .342 3P%

The Houston Rockets find themselves on the outside looking in at the top four of the Western Conference playoff race. With a record of 31-18, the Rockets currently sit at fifth in the West. They are 14-11 on the road.

Due to an injury to Clint Capela, the Houston Rockets have been sporting a unique lineup. Over their last three, they’ve completely forsaken the center position and have been playing five wings at a time. It’s had mixed results.

They’ll be hard-pressed to try the same tactic against the size of the Los Angeles Lakers. But don’t think Mike D’Antoni isn’t prepared to at least test his former club. Their incredible pace has worked against the Mavericks and Pelicans.

Los Angeles Lakers (Home)

Head Coach: Frank Vogel {All-Time 341-302 | IND, ORL, LAL}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Avery Bradley – (G) Danny Green – (F) LeBron James – (F) Anthony Davis – (C) Javale McGee

Season Record: 37-11

Top Performers

  • (F) Anthony Davis – 34.6 MPG | 26.6 PPG | 9.2 RPG | 2.5 BPG
  • (F) LeBron James – 34.8 MPG | 25.0 PPG | 10.7 APG | 7.7 RPG
  • (F) Kyle Kuzma – 24.9 MPG | 13.0 PPG | 4.2 RPG | .501 eFG%

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to own the Western Conference, though there are many that are closing in on their position. They sit three games ahead of their city rivals the LA Clippers. The Lakers look to protect their 16-6 home record against the Houston Rockets.

LeBron James has been able to lead the Lakers to an incredible record, mostly due to his distribution and ability to push the pace. The Lakers are one of the top teams in the league in fast-break points, so they should certainly be able to keep up with the Rockets.

When the Lakers take on the Houston Rockets, they’ll be asked to manage one of the most dynamic offenses in the NBA. Recently switching over to the most perimeter-centric game plan the league has seen, the Rockets are set to provide the Lakers some unique problems.

Who will score more points, LeBron or James Harden? Go check out our latest video for the best prop bets of the week.

What’s at Stake?

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets have met each other a number of times over their regular-season history. In 193 regular-season meetings the Lakers lead the Rockets 116-76.

A win for the Houston Rockets would bring them within half a game of the fourth-place Utah Jazz.

A win for the Los Angeles Lakers would give them a 3.5 game lead over the second-place LA Clippers.

Questions to Answer

What style of basketball are the Houston Rockets playing?

Can the Los Angeles Lakers capitalize in the paint?

We are going to compare the Houston Rockets and the LA Lakers in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

HOU: What in the World Are the Rockets Doing?

Very early on Wednesday morning, the Houston Rockets agreed, in principle to a deal that would send big men Clint Capela and Nene in order to bring in combo-forward Robert Covington. Houston are building toward a new level of small-ball, we may see it when they face the Lakers.

Despite the lack of height on the Houston Rockets, they are an incredibly versatile team. They have capable defenders at every position that can switch at a moment’s notice. They’ve shown, over the last three games, that they don’t truly need a center to win games.

Against the Lakers set of big men, we’ll see how they fare. If the Rockets honestly have no interest in defense, then this game will be the standard that we grade them moving forward. Otherwise, Isaiah Hartenstein has quite the task ahead of him!

LAL: Win the Battle Inside

The Los Angeles Lakers are known for their fantastic pace. However, in this match against the Rockets, that game plan may work against them. Considering the Rockets’ new ultra-small lineup, the Lakers would do well to expose their opponents in the paint.

The Los Angeles Lakers are already second in the league in points in the paint per game with an average of 53.0 – only behind the Memphis Grizzlies. But they don’t pound the ball into the post, it is through methodical screen and roll play, and fast-break opportunities.

Without a rim protector in the Rockets lineup, not including Tyson Chandler who has seen very few minutes this season, there isn’t much to suggest the Rockets can oppose them. Look for the likes of Dwight Howard, Javale McGee, and Anthony Davis to have huge nights inside.

HOU: Can the Rockets Win in Isolation?

It’s not to say that the Rockets don’t play team basketball, but they play as a team once the individual scenario doesn’t work out for James Harden. Due to his production, you can’t say that Harden’s style is negative, it is just difficult to comprehend.

James Harden will be facing off against a cavalcade of capable individual defenders on the Rockets in Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Rajon Rondo. He’ll also be met by the likes of Anthony Davis, Javale McGee, and Dwight Howard at the rim.

Harden dropped 40 against the Hornets, while the Rockets only had 10 fast-break points on the night. Harden’s ability to beat his defender will be essential to defeating the Lakers, as he opens up the court for his teammates. They hit 20 threes against Charlotte and will need that and more to beat the Lake Show.

LAL: What’s Eating Danny Green?

Danny Green is known as one of the NBA’s most prolific three-and-D threats. Not only has Green proven himself a championship-level competitor, winning with the Spurs and the Raptors, but he’s also a calming outlet in what can be a hectic Lakers offense.

He’s struggled to find any consistency from deep though as of late though. Over his last eight, he hasn’t been able to string together back to back games of average shooting from deep. At his hottest, 57% from deep, at his coldest 0-5 from three.

His consistency is the lynchpin of the Lakers offense and he’s struggling to perform at the moment. A veteran, Green is sure to find it. However with the Clippers creeping up on them in the table, Green would do well to find it soon.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

(C) Clint Capela – 3 Feb 2020 – Out (Heel) – Capela is listed as OUT for Tuesday’s (Feb. 4) game.

(G) Russell Westbrook – 3 Feb 2020 – Day To Day (Thumb) – Westbrook is listed as doubtful for Tuesday’s (Feb. 4) game.

(C) Nene Hilario – 22 Nov 2019 – Out (Adductor Strain) – Nene is still away from the team and there is currently no timeline for his return, according to Vincent Sung of Clutch Points.

(G) Gerald Green – 28 Oct 2019 – Out (Left Foot) – Houston Rockets G-F Gerald Green is expected to miss six months after having surgery, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

(F) Anthony Davis – 3 Feb 2020 – Day To Day (Shoulder) – Davis is probable for Tuesday’s (Feb. 4) game against the Spurs.

(G) Alex Caruso – 3 Feb 2020 – Day To Day (Neck) – Caruso is probable for Tuesday’s (Feb. 4) game against the Spurs.

(C) DeMarcus Cousins – 1 Jan 2020 – Out (Knee) – Cousins is starting to work out and the team has not ruled out that he will return to action this season as he recovers from a torn ACL, according to a report from Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com.

Head-to-Head: (G) Ben McLemore vs (G) Rajon Rondo

It’s an offense versus defense matchup when the Lakers and the Rockets face off. Ben McLemore has been great coming off of the bench for Houston as their designated gunner. On the other side, Rondo is a solid defender who assumes playmaking duties when LeBron leaves the court.

(G) Ben McLemore (6-3, 195lb (190cm, 88kg) | Kansas | 6 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 26 HOU 49 23.5 10.3 2.2 0.9 .434 .382

Ben McLemore has a simple job for the Houston Rockets. When McLemore is on the court he is a gunner, much like any other Rocket, and his sole responsibility is to be efficient as an outlet for Westbrook and Harden.

McLemore has had a good run of form as of late, putting in some splendid performances over his last five games. He is averaging 14.6 points on 55.6% from the field and a scorching hot 50% from deep. To punish the Lakers’ shot blockers, McLemore will need to be on form.

(G) Rajon Rondo (6-1, 186lb (185cm, 84kg) | Kentucky | 13 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 33 LAL 33 21.2 7.6 3.5 5.5 .414 .337

Rajon Rondo may not be who he was earlier in his career, but he fills an important role for the Lakers when he’s on the court. Clearly bereft of playmaking when James leaves for the bench, Rondo is just as capable at the point of attack as his MVP teammate.

Analyzing Rondo’s splits is difficult, considering the Lakers have so few losses. But his consistency across the board is notable. Recording an average of 5.3 assists in losses and 5.5 in wins, Rondo will get the ball to where it needs to go. It is just up to his teammates to knockdown shots.

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers Predictions

Why the Los Angeles Lakers Will Win

The game of basketball is slowly moving closer and closer to the case of size not mattering. However, in this matchup, the Lakers have the size and speed to give the Rockets problems. If they can establish themselves in the paint, the Rockets have no response.

Why the Houston Rockets Will Win

Their recent playstyle leaves a lot of questions for the Rockets and their opponents going forward. Not since the heyday of the Golden State Warriors have we seen effective, five-out basketball and the Rockets have just as much firepower. It’s simple for Houston, if they can get their shooting rhythm going, they can take this game.

WSN’s Pick

The Los Angeles Lakers have some slow-footed big men sure, but they’re also long and athletic at the pivot. They are too versatile a team defensively to be taken down by the perimeter-centric Rockets, sans-Capela.

WSN Picks: Los Angeles Lakers to defeat the Houston Rockets.

Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers Odds

The odds for Rockets vs Lakers are provided by bet365 NJ, DraftKings Sportsbook, and 888Sport NJ.

Sportsbook Rockets Lakers
bet365 NJ +230 -280
DraftKings +200 -240
888Sport NJ +195 -240

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