Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets: Predictions, Odds and Head-to-Head

How to Watch

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

When: Saturday, January 19th, 8:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ABC | 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES, 790 AM

Los Angeles Lakers (Away)

Head Coach: Luke Walton {All-Time 85-124 | LAL}

The Los Angeles Lakers have continued their tumble down the Western Conference rankings. Since LeBron James went down on Christmas Day they have fallen to eighth in the West with a record of 23-21. Even spending some time out of the playoff race due to the competitiveness of teams below them.

The Lakers won against the Chicago Bulls in their last outing, pushing them back into eighth in the West after the spent some time outside of the top eight due to Utah’s recent success. The Lakers are hopeful that James will soon be able to play, though they’d like to ensure 100% recovery before placing him on the court.

The Lakers are taking on a red-hot Houston Rockets team led by James Harden who is making another bid for Most Valuable Player. While the Lakers have struggled the Rockets have succeeded. The Lakers should have the advantage on the inside as Clint Cappella remains out, but they will have to zone in on the Rockets’ perimeter threat if they want to succeed.

Houston Rockets (Home)

Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni {All-Time 600-488 | DEN, PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

Despite the Houston Rockets’ health struggles, they have been on the rise as of late. With a record of 25-18 they are currently fourth in the Western Conference and just a game back from the Oklahoma City Thunder who are in third place.

After a disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic on the road, the Rockets bounced back with a resounding win over the Memphis Grizzlies. While the Rockets performed well as a team, it was an incredible 57-point performance from James Harden that led the Rockets over the Grizzlies in that match.

Seeing as the Rockets are thin up front, they will have to get creative against the Lakers. While Nene started for the Rockets in his place against the Grizzlies, he only saw thirteen minutes of action. The Rockets are likely to play small against the Lakers once again, with spot minutes for reserve bigs like Marquese Chriss and Isaiah Hartenstein.

What’s At Stake?

Both the Lakers and Rockets have had their fair share of success in their respective NBA history. In the all-time series, the Los Angeles Lakers lead the Houston Rockets 114-76.

A win for the Lakers would keep them in eighth place, but secure the difference from the gaining Utah Jazz.

A win for the Rockets would put them just a game and a half back from the Oklahoma City Thunder in third place.

Questions to answer

Can the Lakers win on the inside?

Will the Rockets shoot even more?

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

McGee and Chandler Have Little Opposition

Nothing about this statement is meant to diminish the talents of NBA veteran Nene, but with the loss of Clint Capela the Houston Rockets are terribly thin in the front court. With that lack of presence on the inside, don’t be surprised to see the likes of Java McGee and Tyson Chandler thrive in the paint.

With LeBron James or without, the Lakers should look to take greater advantage of their screen and roll play. Without their captain the Lakers have struggled to find offensive consistency. By simplifying their play in the half-court against a team that is weak on the inside, the Lakers might be able to get a number of easy looks.

The Lakers may have to worry about some different looks from the Rockets. With their lack of size they may opt to take the small-ball route, playing the likes of PJ Tucker at center in order to outpace the Lakers. Should the Lakers be able to adjust, they may be able to take this match.

The Rockets Attempt 43 Three-Point Field-Goals per Game

To say the Houston Rockets are an offensive oriented team would be an understatement. With the addition of coach Mike D’Antoni, combined with the cast of players Daryl Morey has put together, the Rockets are a well-built, well-oiled scoring machine.

The Rockets attempt 43 three-point field goals per game. Ten of the Houston Rockets’ roster averages more than 50% of their field-goals from three-point range. With the subtraction of Clint Capela from the lineup, one can only expect that number to increase drastically to compensate for their lack of inside threat.

The Lakers actually do a respectable job of defending the three-point line. Largely in part due to the athleticism and shot-blocking ability of their bigs, the Lakers’ perimeter defenders can easily pressure the arc little concern for recovery. If the Rockets can’t knock down shots consistently, they’ll be hard-pressed to make buckets at the rim.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

F LeBron James – Out (Groin Strain) – The Lakers announced that James is making progress and the next update on his groin injury will be provided on Jan. 16.

G Rajon Rondo – Out (Right Finger Sprain) – The Los Angeles Lakers announced G Rajon Rondo will miss 4-5 weeks after undergoing surgery on his right ring finger.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

C Clint Capela – Out (Right Thumb) – Capela is expected to miss the next four-to-six weeks due to his right thumb injury.

G Eric Gordon – Day To Day (Knee) – The Rockets have listed Gordon as QUESTIONABLE for Wednesday’s game (Jan. 16) against the Nets.

G Brandon Knight – Out (Knee) – The Rockets have listed Knight as OUT for Wednesday’s game (Jan. 16) against the Nets.

G Chris Paul – Out (Strained Left Hamstring) – Paul is not expected to return until the end of January.

Head-to-Head: Javale McGee vs Gary Clark

Javale McGee

Center | 7-0, 270lb (213cm, 122kg) | Nevada | Exp. 11 Years

11.0 PPG | 0.8 APG | 6.8 RPG | 0.7 SPG | 2.3 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .585 FG% | .167 3P%

Gary Clark

Power Forward | 6-8, 225lb (203cm, 102kg) | Cincinnati | Rookie

3.3 PPG | 0.5 APG | 2.7 RPG | 0.4 SPG | 0.6 BPG | 0.1 TOV | .340 FG% | .310 3P%

The key in this match will be the production of role players as both teams sport injuries to major contributors. Both Javale McGee and Gary Clark have played roles in their respective teams success and will be playing foil to one another on more than on occasion in this matchup.

Javale McGee has undergone quite the career resurgence in the past three years. After a promising young career that was slightly derailed, he has found his niche in today’s NBA. The Lakers uptempo offence suits him greatly and his ability on rolls and defending the rim has been paramount to the Lakers’ success this season.

Don’t Let Gary Clark’s stats fool you. What he lacks in traditional numbers he makes up for with a positive defensive box plus-minus. Clark saw extended minutes against the Grizzlies and will surely see more against the Lakers. While he is only shooting 31% from three, he hit two against the Grizzlies and the Lakers will hope he can provide the same range to stretch the Lakers defence.

Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Houston Rockets favoured over the Los Angeles Lakers by 7, with an over/under of 110.