HOUSTON ROCKETS (22-27)
at LOS ANGELES LAKERS (33-15)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Los Angeles -8.5, Total: 209
The Lakers come into Tuesday’s bout with the Rockets looking to get back to their winning ways at home. The Lakers have lost two straight in the Staples Center and are 18-7 SU at home this year, matching their loss total for all of 2009-10. Vegas odds.
Houston has not figured out how to guard people thus far this season. The Rockets are 24th in the NBA in defense giving up 104.9 PPG and an unhealthy 108.2 PPG on the road (fourth-worst in league). The horrendous defense, especially on the road, is a big reason why the Rockets are 9-17 SU away from the Toyota Center. The Rockets rely on Kevin Martin to boost their team with scoring and energy. Martin (23.0 PPG), had only 10 points, going 4-for-13 from the field Saturday in a 108-95 loss to the Spurs. Martin had 48 points in the first two meetings with the Lakers, and will be an important ingredient for a Rockets victory.
The Lakers lost a tough one Sunday against the rival Celtics 109-96, but have no excuses for their embarrassing 100-95 loss at home to the Sacramento Kings (12-33) on Friday. The Lakers haven’t proven they can beat the NBA’s elite going 1-5 against the Celtics, Heat, Bulls, Spurs and Mavericks, but also have some recent head-scratching losses to teams such as the Clippers on Jan. 16 and Kings. Kobe Bryant (25.5 PPG) has not been the problem in the last two home losses where he’s put up 41 and 38. Los Angeles needs Pau Gasol (18.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG) to play better than he has in the past two losses. Gasol, who has been a centerpiece to the Lakers’ success, has only scored only 21 points the past two games, going 9-for-24 from the floor. Basketball scores.
The Rockets have played the Lakers very tough this year beating them 109-99 on Dec. 1 and losing 112-110 on Oct. 26 due to a Steve Blake three-pointer with 18.8 seconds left. Houston is 4-2 ATS versus the Lakers the last two seasons and 2-0 ATS this year. The Lakers on the other hand have not been good ATS this year both overall (21-27) and at home (10-15). This is mainly due to the high expectations from being the defending NBA champions. Another good-looking trend for the Rockets is their 8-2 ATS record against Pacific Division opponents this year. The Rockets, who always play the Lakers tough, might not pull out another win, but will keep it close enough to cover with the points.
These two FoxSheets trends also side with Houston to cover.
HOUSTON is 87-40 ATS (68.5%, +43.0 Units) in road games after 2 or more consecutive losses since 1996. The average score was HOUSTON 96.4, OPPONENT 97.4 – (Rating = 2*).
HOUSTON is 76-37 ATS (67.3%, +35.3 Units) in road games after allowing 105 points or more since 1996. The average score was HOUSTON 100.9, OPPONENT 100.8 – (Rating = 2*).
Although six of the past eight games in this series at Staples Center have finished Under the total, this FoxSheets trend expects the game to finish Over. Basketball odds.
LA LAKERS are 12-1 OVER (92.3%, +10.9 Units) in home games off 2 or more consecutive home losses since 1996. The average score was LA LAKERS 109.3, OPPONENT 100.2 – (Rating = 2*).