ESB “GAME OF NIGHT”: ROCKETS @ LAKERS PREVIEW (2-6-20)
ELITE SHADOW BETS STAFF “GAME OF THE NIGHT” PREVIEW: ROCKETS @ LAKERS (THUR. FEB. 6, 2020) – TNT T.V.
ROCKETS GO WEST TO TAKE ON LAKERS ON A MINI 3 GAME WIN STREAK WITH HARDEN ON FIRE!
VEGAS BETTING ODDS: L A LAKERS (-8 or -8 1/2) vs. HOUSTON ROCKETS ~ TOTAL: (237 1/2)
HOUSTON ROCKETS (32-18) – (14-11 AWAY) *** L A LAKERS (38-11) – (17-6 HOME)
Tonight ESB highlights the most exciting game on the board and it’s in the NBA as the Houston Rockets travel to LA seeking some revenge for a loss 6 weeks at Home to the Lakeshow 122-117. The Rockets have won 3 straight and they actually have a win on tonight’s same floor, the Staples Center as they earned a nice win over LA’s other elite team, the LA Clippers, 124-115. It will also mark the area that the 2 best Rockets players are from. Russ Westbrook and Russ Harden both come from LA and will be making their first trip back home, the same place their good buddy Kobe Bryant played and lived before his sad death a few weeks ago.
Strangely the Lakers have only played 3 games in nearly a month, with a long road trip and a game cancellation due to the Kobe Bryant death, and they actually lost 2 of those 3 at Home. The good news is the Kobe death complete devastation seems to possibly have passed and they have played very solid the past two games and shooting the ball as well as they have all season. They scored 129 points each of those past 2 wins and the fourth quarter of their last game may have been their best one quarter this season. They scored 42 points in that quarter, with 21 points coming in the first 3:31 and Lebron James hitting five 3’s in that scoring surge.
The Lakers have only played 3 games in 12 days, so they in a way got an All Star break of rest a few weeks earlier.
Now lets look at the Rockets, who will come into tonight’s game no longer suiting up their big Center C. Capela, who was traded a few days ago. He led the team in rebounds with 14 per game and in the earlier loss to the Lakers he has 12 rebounds. The interesting thing to watch now is that PG Westbrook is now the teams leading rebounder at just 8 rebounds per game. They clearly need newly acquired R. Covington to pick up much of the Defensive/Rebounding left behind by Capela.
The first meeting was somewhat high scoring but the only true takeaway from the first meeting it was one word: “SLOPPY”. The Lakers turned it over 17x and the Rockets an even worse 20x. The main reason is the Rockets want the pace speeded up, regardless who they play. The Lakers have shown they will surely run it at fast pace if opposing team wants that. It’s no shock when the Rockets score over 120 points, for the most part they win. Look no further than their past 8 games. They won six scoring over 120 five times (117 in other win) and only 110 and 112 in the two losses.
HARDEN BACK TO UNSTOPPABLE AND RED HOT SHOOTING HARDEN
All players in all sports suffer thru injuries over their long seasons. Rockets number 1 scorer Harden had a very bad thigh injury, but played thru it. Some nights he looked like he should be in the G-League he shot so poorly. He will over long season even healthy drop some real clunker nights. But the past 4 games he started moving quicker and the injury looked less of a hindrance. He is averaging 33.3 points per game his past 4 games with now back to back 40 point games coming into this fun match up tonight. Westbrook is from LA and played at UCLA and you know he will have a ton of family/friends at this game. He has always loved playing the Lakers, evidence his 35 point game earlier vs. the Lakers. I’d say Harden likely same as he’s from the area too. Now we all know how streaky Harden can be. Now healthy and off 40 point games, could we be in the midst of another Harden hot scoring binge. Scorers are all the same and when they get hot, it can go on for 2-3 weeks and at times longer. Harden seeing that ball go thru the hoop again tells me he’s likely going to continue to stay on fire shooting for awhile now ahead.
HOUSTON BATTLING IT OUT FOR 4TH SEED RIGHT NOW
Thanks to the Utah Jazz going ice cold with a shocking 5 game losing streak, the Rockets are now tied with the Jazz for the 4th seed in the West. Many will say the trade may though snag some of the chemistry with Capela out. But truth is the Rockets played much better and more fluid in the games Capela missed this year. They almost are better playing smaller and running and gunning. Yes the Defense suffers some, but the Offense clicks better and you can see some happier guys when the team is scoring and really if the Rockets ever win a Title it won’t be due to their Defensive play.
Look the Odds makers are not stupid. They saw the first game had 239 points scored. They see the Lakers are looking more fluid and scoring better the past few games, looking possibly like Kobe death behind them. The Rockets Harden is now in the “HARDEN HOT ZONE” again. The Rockets avg. 115 points per game and the Lakers average 114 points per game. So they make the Total 237 1/2…..adding a nice 8 points or so to the Total. They did this the other night with two high flyers, Bucks and Pelicans and it fell short of the super high Total they posted. There are many games that have value and many that simply don’t. The “OVER” is the only side you could bet tonight but they stole the “VALUE”. So that takes us to the “SIDE” and it’s never easy to pull the trigger against James and his mates at the Staples Center. The Rockets though I am quite sure come in here really pumped for many reasons. One being revenge for close loss on their home court 6 weeks ago and the other is Harden and Westbrook coming home. The first meeting had 37 combined turnovers and that will happen when pace is pushed so hard. The Lakers simply haven’t played well enough of late to warrant laying 8 points to Houston when they are actually in midst of a good shooting run, especially by it’s top scorer, Harden. I fully expect a really fun and exciting fast paced game and in a way this is like a Playoff preview we could actually see again in the Second round if the Rockets grab the 4 seed and the Lakers hold the #1 spot (now up 3 games in West) and although it’s not the All Star Break yet, both teams would love to go into that break on a winning streak and feeling like they are the team to beat in the West.
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ELITE SHADOW BETS STAFF