This second round series could come to an end on Saturday. The Rockets are down 3-1 and the Lakers seem to be getting better with each game. The Lakers have been somewhat maligned in these playoffs but if they make it to the Western Conference Finals they will be right where most expected them to be.
Houston has a lot on the line for this one. Not only are they facing elimination but it seems like this series, and these playoffs, are kind of a referendum on whether their style of play can deliver a championship. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are talented players but this series has not gone the way they want it to.
Quick Houston Rockets Notes
- Bizarre situation with Danuel House and a possible violation of COVID-19 protocols. He is not expected to play again.
- The Rockets have no great answer for Anthony Davis with their undersized defense
- Jeff Green has been a surprising find and they probably would have not made it to this point without him
Quick Los Angeles Lakers Notes
- On a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo has been a huge difference maker in the series.
- Kyle Kuzma has not, his scoring is down to 10ppg.
- Danny Green has hit big shots in the past for Toronto and San Antonio but is making just 34% of his threes in the playoffs.
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Betting Analysis:
ATS: Lakers -6.5
The Lakers have been favored in every game of the series, such is life in the bubble with no travel to swing these in the other direction. Houston upset in game one when they were +6.5 and this is the biggest spread since that game. The Lakers have been covering relatively easy as they built their series lead, never winning by less than eight points in a game. Potential close out games have a chance at getting ugly because if the outcome is not in doubt team teams can shut it down or really play some weird substitution patterns late so generally I like to go with who I think will win the game, betting them to cover too. We have seen L.A. really play a lot better on both sides of the floor since getting a wake up call in game one. The same thing happened against Portland. Take them to win and cover here.
Moneyline: Lakers -276, Rockets +228
The Rockets have won a game in this series so it is not like it is impossible, but over the last three games we have seen that the depth of the Lakers is superior, and so is their star power with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Of course maybe Harden has a game where he is unstoppable scoring the ball but the challenge has been that they are getting next to nothing from others and Westbrook has seemed out of rhythm. This can easily be one where all the stars play well, kind of cancelling each other out, while another player steps up. That has been Rondo but I like the options for L.A. much better. They are hungry to close as quickly as possible too. I normally don't sniff at these kinds of money lines but close out games can end oddly.
The total has gone down with every game in the series so this is the lowest one yet. So far we have seen three unders with the lone over in game two. Even with that over though the number was still brought down a smidge. The question for this one is whether Houston is going to play tight or are they going to let it fly. With their personnel they really only have one way to play though so I am not expecting much difference in terms of style. Even if this number had been the total for all of the games we still would have seen just one over. With a little more attention to each possession Houston has to play a tad slower so I am sticking with the under trend.
The Play: Under 216.5