Lakers vs Rockets Live: Free Online Watch Lakers vs Rockets Live Stream Rondo spark Lakers to 112-102 victory over Rockets
The Houston Rockets have completely lost their way. Through the first 17 games in the bubble, the Rockets attempted 51.6 threes per game. In the last two games of this series, they’ve attempted a combined 63 threes.
Houston’s biggest advantage against the Lakers was its ability to overwhelm the 3-point shooting volume and create variance. If the Rockets can’t do that — in addition to being out rebounded, out hustled and outscored in the paint — they may be drawing dead.
James Harden remains one of the most talented players in the league but continues to disappoint come playoff time. Harden finished just 2-11 from the field with 5 turnovers in a pivotal Game 4. Although he scored 21 points and dished five assists, Houston will need more from him if they expect to have a chance.
And the hits keep coming.
Daniel House was removed from the bubble after an NBA investigation found he had an unauthorized guest in his hotel room. For a team that’s lacking bench depth and plays a shorter rotation, this could be a death sentence.
For the third straight game, Houston’s reserves were outscored by the Laker bench and it’s clear that they’re going to need more from their role players.
Since electing to not play a traditional center, the Lakers have been dominant. Anthony Davis scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while LeBron James finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and was just one assist shy of a triple double.
The biggest issue for the Rockets is that even the Lakers small ball lineups are big. As LeBron James said in the post game press conference:
“I don’t look at it as a small lineup. We still have Anthony Davis at 6’11”. Markieff Morris at 6’10”. I’m 6’9”. Danny Green is 6’7”. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is 6’6”. We all have this wingspan & play hard. It’s a good lineup for us.”
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The Lakers outscored the Rockets 62-24 in the paint and 17-3 in second chance points. With Los Angeles out rebounding the Houston 52-26, they finished with 23 more shot attempts in Game 4. There’s just not much a team can do when the opposing team gets that many more shot opportunities.
To make matters worse, LA’s small ball lineups can defend well enough to limit Houston three-point attempts and force turnovers to get out in transition. The Lakers also outscored the Rockets 19-2 in fast break points.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This series looks all but over. Although I liked the Rockets in Game 1 and 2, I said in my earlier previews that I believed that Houston would eventually wear down. They played a grueling seven-game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder and had to follow that up with playing a much bigger team in the Lakers. It appears that we’re seeing the results of that.
That said, from a numbers perspective, oddsmakers are charging you a premium to bet the Lakers in a closeout game. That’s something I’m not willing to do.
The total has some value, however. For the past two games I’ve played the under and both have hit with relative ease. Although this has been an under series, the first three games of this series went over in the first half with scoring dying in the second half. In Game 4, the only game which didn’t go over in the first half, the Rockets shot 4-15 from the field (26%). It was their lowest scoring second quarter of the series.
William Hill has the best price on the first half total in Game 5 at 110 (-110). For a Rockets team that knows it has to score to win, I think we see a premium effort and the only path there involves scoring.