The NBA is set for an action packed night of basketball on Saturday. Ten games are on the board in total for January 19. One of the games will be between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets. These two teams are sitting in the Western Conference playoff picture as of right now. Tip off is set for 8:30 Eastern on ABC.
Los Angeles has started the season with a record of 25-21. The Lakers are currently sitting in eighth place of the Western Conference. Los Angeles has won two games in a row against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers will look to keep the winning streak going with a road win on Saturday night against Houston.
The Rockets started out the season pretty slow, but have picked up their play a lot in the recent months. Houston has a record of 25-19, which has them in fifth place of the Western Conference. The Rockets lost their last game to the Brooklyn Nets and have lost four of their last seven games. Houston will look to get things going with a home win against the Lakers.
Saturday night’s matchup between the Lakers and the Rockets will be the third matchup of the season series. Los Angeles and Houston will meet one more time on February 21. These two teams are really close in the Western Conference playoff picture and will look to get the leg up with a win on Saturday night.
The first matchup of the season series was on October 20 and was hosted by Los Angeles. LeBron James dropped 24 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. JaVale McGee dropped 16 points the Lakers. James Harden put up 36 points and 7 rebounds. Chris Paul scored 28 points and 10 assists to help lead the Rockets to a road win. Houston finished with a 124-115 win.
Houston hosted the second matchup of the season series on December 13. LeBron James had another big night against the Rockets, as he dropped 29 points. Kyle Kuzma dropped 24 points as well, but it was not enough for Los Angeles. James Harden had a huge night scoring 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Clint Capela had 16 points and 14 rebounds as Houston was able to coast to a 126-111 win.
The Rockets have jumped out to a 2-0 season series lead at this point of the season. Houston had huge nights from Harden in both of their wins and have broken the 120 point mark of the game. The Rockets have not been doing great at stopping Los Angeles in their earlier matchups. Houston has been able to go 7-1 against the Lakers in their last eight games against them.
Los Angeles has had some issues with injuries to this point in the season. The Lakers are missing Rajon Rondo and LeBron James for their matchup against. James is averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists per game. Without James, the Lakers have had some players step up to help keep them competitive.
The Rockets have been hit hard with injuries as of late. Houston is missing Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Brandon Knight and James Ennis. The Rockets could be getting Eric Gordan back though for the Lakers matchup. Paul has averaged 15.5 points and 8 assists per game this season. Capela is averaging 17.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.
The Lakers are missing their best player in LeBron James, but Houston is without a lot more of key players though. These two teams need players to step up in the missing players absences if they want to keep competitive in the Western Conference. Los Angeles has been doing better with their injuries, while the Rockets have been in a win then loss groove recently.
Kyle Kuzma has stepped up this season, especially with LeBron James out. Kuzma is averaging 19 points and 6 rebounds per game. Brandon Ingram has averaged 16 points and 5 rebounds per game. JaVale McGee is averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lonzo Ball have averaged 10 points per game this season. The Lakers will need these players to continue to step up on Saturday night.
The Rockets have been riding James Harden’s hot streak as of late. Harden is averaging 35.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. Eric Gordan has averaged 16 points per game this season. Austin Rivers is averaging 13.5 points since moving to Houston. Gerald Green has averaged 9 points per game this season. Houston will need some players to step up to help provide Harden some support.
Harden will go up against Ingram, which could be a big matchup for Harden. Ingram has some size on him, but Harden will use his speed to find open space to shoot. Kuzma will go up against Eric Gordan, which will be also a good matchup to watch. The Lakers will need their other players to step up to take advantage of mismatches due to the Rockets injuries.
Houston is coming into Saturday night’s matchup having found a lot of success against the Lakers in recent matchups. The Rockets have a lot of key injuries and if Gordan misses out on Saturday’s matchup I believe it will really hurt Houston’s chances. Los Angeles is coming in off a two game winning streak and I believe they keep this game close and they have a good chance to take the win on the road.
BetOnline has the Rockets listed as a -7 against the spread. This is a big spread for a team that is hurting hard from injuries and I believe that it should be closer to a two point spread. This gives a lot of value to the Lakers. I believe that Los Angeles keeps this game close and have a good chance to take the upset on the road. I am taking the Lakers as big home underdogs.