Tuesday night features a battle of Western Conference foes as the Los Angeles Lakers (8-3) and the Houston Rockets (3-5) meet for the second time in three nights. The Rockets will host this one from the Toyota Center with tip-off scheduled for 8 pm ET.
On Sunday, the Lakers made easy work of the Rockets, winning 120-102. In the win, Anthony Davis went for 27 points while LeBron James added 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
In the loss, Christian Wood led Houston with 23 points, while James Harden added 20 points, six rebounds and nine assists.
The Lakers currently sit in the top spot in the Western Conference with their 8-3 record. They have won six of their last seven, with their lone blemish in that time being a 118-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Now having won two in a row, they are looking to make it three on Tuesday.
After their loss Sunday, the Rockets have now dropped three of four and continue to search for answers. For what has been one of the best teams in the league over the last several years, Harden and the Rockets have struggled to find any semblance of consistency to start this season.
The Lakers are the favorites despite playing on the road. They are -255 to win while the Rockets’ moneyline sits at +210. The spread features the Rockets +6.
By The Numbers
Offensively, the Los Angeles Lakers come in as the stronger team. They currently rank eighth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 114.5 points per game. The Rockets come in a respectable 13th, averaging 112.8 points.
Defensively, it is all Los Angeles. The Lakers rank fifth in scoring defense, allowing just 106.2 points per game. The Rockets are 20th overall, allowing 112.8 points per game.
Lakers Look To Keep Rolling
After winning the NBA championship last season, the Lakers are out to repeat this season. Early on, it seems they may be up to the task. With the best record in the league, the Lakers will look to continue rolling against the Rockets on Tuesday.
Leading the way for Los Angeles are James and Davis. On the season, James has averaged 24 points on 48.5% shooting. He is also adding 8.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists per night.
Not to be outdone, Davis has averaged 22.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
Other notable contributors for the Lakers include guard Dennis Schroder (14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, five assists), Kyle Kuzma (10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds), Montrezl Harrell 12.9 points, eight rebounds), and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (9.6 points).
Rockets Hope To Get Season Turned Around
After a tumultuous offseason that included a trade of Russell Westbrook and a trade demand from Harden, this is hardly the start that the Rockets wanted. Still early in the season, they will look to turn their season around, starting with trying to take the back end of two straight games with the Lakers.
Despite his desire to be traded, Harden has still performed admirably thus far this season. He is averaging 26 points on 46.2% shooting and adding 4.9 rebounds and 11 assists per night.
Newcomers Wood and John Wall have also been solid. Wood has averaged 23.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, while Wall is averaging 20 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, after having missed the last several games with back spasms, Danuel House Jr. will once again be out in this one. This time, though, it is for health and safety protocols not directly related to his back. House has been a solid contributor on offense and an even more important presence on defense.
Taking Lakers To Win And Cover
While it is hard to beat the same time twice in a row, especially when playing on the road, I think that is exactly what the Lakers will do Tuesday. The Rockets just seem a bit lost as they continue to try meshing a lot of new parts to the rotation.
This obviously comes with the caveat that Harden has the ability to take over a game at any time, but I still like the Lakers to not only win but cover the six-point spread.