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|Team||Point Spread||Total||Money Line|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-6 -110||TBA||-235|
|Houston Rockets||+6 -110||TBA||+188|
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The Los Angeles Lakers’ offense couldn’t be held off in their last meeting against the Houston Rockets. While Houston is likely to get a more explosive game from James Harden, the Lakers’ wealth of talent is likely to overcome them again.
Los Angeles Lakers to Win (-235)
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|Lakers vs Rockets Information|
|What||Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets|
|Where||Toyota Center, Houston, TX|
|When||8:00 PM EST, January 12, 2021|
|How to Watch||NBATV|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Head-to-Head||Houston Rockets|
|Frank Vogel||Head Coach||Stephen Silas|
|8-3 (1st in West)||Standing||3-5 (13th in West)|
|113.8 (5th of 30)||Off Rtg||110.5 (14th of 30)|
|105.6 (3rd of 30)||Def Rtg||110.5 (17th of 30)|
|100.6 (17th of 30)||Pace||100.7 (15th of 30)|
Leaders (Per Game)
|L. James (24.0)||PPG||J. Harden (26.0)|
|A. Davis (8.6)||RPG||C. Wood (9.7)|
|L. James (7.7)||APG||J. Harden (11.0)|
|A. Davis (1.3)||SPG||J. Wall (1.0)|
|A. Davis (1.6)||BPG||C. Wood (1.9)|
|M. Harrell (.857)/A. Davis (9.1)||FG%/FGM||S. Brown (.579)/C. Wood (9.4)|
|A. Caruso (.529)/L. James (2.1)||3P%/3PM||P. Tucker (.542)/J. Harden (3.4)|
It must be said beforehand, this is not the elite scoring Houston Rockets team of years past. While they still have James Harden on their roster, their lack of depth is considerable. Especially in comparison to that of the Lakers. What won the Lakers their Sunday matchup against Houston was their ability to clamp down on the Rockets stars.
James Harden and John Wall were held to just 12 of 28 shooting from the field while combining to shoot just four of 12 from the three-point line. Much of it has to do with the Davis-Gasol tandem roaming the paint and terrorizing the guards off-screen, but it also has to do with Los Angeles’ overall discipline in front of their own basket.
Houston went deep into their bench and couldn’t find an answer. The Lakers looked to Caruso and Horton-Tucker off the bench and found fantastic two-way production. Holding a scorer at the level of James Harden to just 20 points again is unlikely, but the Lakers’ willingness to get out on shooters knowing their big men can protect the paint can stifle the Rockets once again.
The Houston Rockets, like many, face a difficult task when they face the Los Angeles Lakers. A decidedly old-school team in their game plan, the Lakers pound you in the half-court while also playing a tremendous fast-break game. A fast-break game that the Rockets struggled to keep up with.
By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Houston Rockets faced a fast-break point differential of 27 to four. Only compounded by 21 turnovers on the evening, the Rockets have only themselves to blame for their lack of effort on both ends of the court.
The Rockets had the luxury in past seasons to surround James Harden with players that will play defence for him. In their losses, he and John Wall have been targeted as liabilities on the defensive end. If they have any hope of beating the Lakers in this rematch, they must build their offence out of a strong defensive stand.
Anthony Davis coming up CLUTCHpic.twitter.com/clRaog9WOr
— LakeShow (@LakeShowCP) January 6, 2021
Of course, one of the league’s best players is a focal point for the Los Angeles Lakers in this game, but against Houston, it is a matter of understanding how he changes the game. Not only is he a stalwart defensively, but his offensive ability has taken another leap since the NBA bubble began.
In their Sunday victory over the Rockets, Davis was nearly perfect from the field. He had 27 points on nine of 12 shooting from the field in under 30 minutes of play. Christian Wood was no match for him, despite the young forward’s energy. Davis’ new mastery of the mid-range game has opened up opportunities not just for himself, but for his teammates as he can receive the ball at nearly any position on the court and make a play.
It’ll be interesting to see how Houston defends Davis. For better or worse, Davis has attacked the rim significantly less since the season began. Capitalizing on opportunities will be priority number one, as new acquisition and frontcourt partner Marc Gasol offers little in terms of scoring output.
John Wall is too quick ? pic.twitter.com/yuO8CKVA7Z
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 9, 2021
John Wall came back to the NBA as one of the most exciting pieces, especially with the Houston Rockets. A lightning-quick point guard with excellent defensive versatility and playmaking, Wall has the potential to be a game-changer for the Rockets this season.
Unfortunately against the Lakers, Wall has struggled. He posted just 14 points on five of 14 shooting and was a -28 on the night. While he was able to contribute in other ways, 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and a steal, Wall’s offensive limitations only compound the Rockets’ issues.
Wall has never been a pure shooter, but he’s been closed down at the rim by capable rim-protectors like Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol. If he can’t support Harden’s scoring on the offensive end, the Rockets have little chance of taking this game.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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