Thursday, December 13 at 8:00 PM ET
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers look to keep rolling when they visit James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Thursday night. The Lakers have won six of their last seven games while the Rockets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 111-104 win against the Trail Blazers.
A lot has changed since these two teams met on October 20th. The Rockets won that game 124-115 behind 36 points, seven rebounds and five assists from James Harden and 28 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists from Chris Paul, who was involved in a fight with Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram late in the fourth quarter. Rondo (hand) and Ingram (left ankle sprain) will miss this game but the Lakers have improved defensively and they've learned how to play better down the stretch and close out games.
Lakers not slowing down
The Lakers led the Heat by four after the first quarter on Monday, trailed by three at halftime and led by one after three quarters before trailing by six with 7:18 left and finishing on an 18-9 run to get the 108-105 win. The Lakers shot 45.6 percent from the field, including 14-for-32 from 3-point range and forced 17 turnovers to help offset going 12-for-20 at the free-throw line. Kyle Kuzma led the way with 33 points and seven rebounds and LeBron James added 28 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
Rockets get back on track
The Rockets took care of the Trail Blazers 111-104 at home last Tuesday. They trailed by three points at halftime and were still down three with 2:34 to play in the third quarter before going on a 13-0 run over the next four plus minutes to take control of the game. Houston shot 49.4 percent from the field but they were just 9-for-29 from beyond the arc. James Harden scored 29 points and Chris Paul had a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Los Angeles Lakers are:
6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss
8-2 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games
6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games against Western Conference opponents
The Houston Rockets are:
6-13 ATS in their last 19 games against Western Conference opponents
3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600
3-8 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall
3-8 ATS in their last 11 games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
1-8 ATS in their last nine games when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
The Rockets were supposed to be the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference but the Lakers are closing the gap, so this game will be a great test for both teams. That said, the Rockets are not looking like the team that led the NBA in wins last season and I'm surprised that they're favored here. Except for home court advantage, the Rockets don't have much going for them in this game and I really like the Lakers catching points in this spot.
NBA Pick: Lakers +5.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA