The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets meet again on Tuesday night for Game 3 of their second-round playoff series. The series is tied 1-1 after the Lakers bounced back with a strong Game 2 win after the Rockets blew them out in Game 1.
Los Angeles had big nights from their superstars and got the needed bench support to pull off the victory. On the other hand, the Rockets saw Russell Westbrook struggle in Game 2 while PJ Tucker got into early foul trouble which hurt Houston. Rockets’ star James Harden also didn’t look too aggressive last Sunday and the Lakers took advantage to tie the series.
Game 3 will be on September 8, 2020, at the AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida.
The Lakers’ ploy to go big backfired on them in Game 1 as Houston’s small-ball proved to be effective against a slower team. However, Frank Vogel decided to match fire with fire as he put Anthony Davis on the bench and used his own small-ball lineup of LeBron, Marcus Morris, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, and Rajon Rondo. The lineup worked, the Lakers took a big lead early and Rondo had a great all-around game.
Rondo scored 10 points, issued nine assists, and had five steals in Game 2 and was a +28 on the night. LeBron James barely missed a triple-double with 28 points,11 rebounds, and nine assists while Anthony Davis had a double-double with 34 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers also got a big lift from reserve Marcus Morris who scored 15 points while hitting four of five three-pointers.
Foul trouble was the biggest factor for the Rockets in Game 2. P.J. Tucker picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and picked up his third in the middle of the second period. With Tucker out, the Rockets were outscored by 12 points during that period and that hurt a lot. Tucker was a +18 on the night, the highest on the team.
Russell Westbrook also had a terrible game. Russ shot just 5-14 from the floor and had more turnovers than assist. James Harden had an efficient game with 27 points and seven assists but he took only 12 shots, fewer than Westbrook and Eric Gordon. If the Rockets want to beat the Lakers, Harden must be more aggressive while Westbrook needs to play better.
The Lakers are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played. Los Angeles is 2-1 SU in their last three games played on the road. The Rockets are 5-5 SU in their last 10 games played. Houston is 1-4 SU in their last five games played on the road, 4-2 SU in their last six games against the Pacific Division, and 4-2 in their last six Tuesday games. Head to head, the Rockets are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games played against the Lakers.
After losing game 1, the Lakers displayed a better effort in Game 3. They were off to a fast start but then they let the Rockets come back and make it a difficult game. LeBron James barely missed a triple-double while Anthony Davis had a big night. But the difference-maker for the Lakers was Rajon Rondo who was a +28 for the Lakers in Game 2.
The Rockets need P.J. Tucker to be on the floor if they want a chance to beat L.A. again. Houston is the 3rd best defensive team in the playoffs but with Tucker in early foul trouble in Game 2, Anthony Davis went to town. The Rockets need James Harden to be aggressive while Russell Westbrook needs to play better.
We’ve seen the best of both teams during their wins in this series. I think that despite the difference in height, these are two well-matched up teams. I don’t expect either team to win big here. This could be a game of runs with both teams taking big leads and coming back from deficits. I like a close game here but I’ll take the Lakers with Anthony Davis having another big game
Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles is 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games played. The Lakers are 2-1 ATS in their last three games played on the road, and 4-2 ATS in their last six games played against the Western Conference. Houston is 2-5 ATS in their last seven games played. The Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last five games played on the road, and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games played against the Western Conference. Head to head, the Lakers are 2-1 ATS in their last three games played against the Rockets.
I’m not sure if the Rockets will have enough to pull off the upset here but I’m very sure that they will be able to hold their own against the Lakers. Look, Houston beat L.A. by 15 points in Game 1 and the Lakers won over them on Sunday by only eight points. P.J. Tucker got into early foul trouble and that hurt the Rockets’ defense. Also, Houston’s all-star backcourt had a bad night yet they were able to erase a huge first-half deficit. I think the Rockets will bring their A-game here and I think this will be a closely fought contest which could be decided by one possession. I’ll take the plus points here.
Prediction: Rockets +5
The total has gone over in six out of the last 10 games played by the Lakers. The over is 2-1 in Los Angeles’ last three games played on the road. However, the under is 6-2 in L.A.’s last eight games played against the Southwest Division. The total has gone under in six out of the last 10 games played by the Rockets. Head to head, the total has gone under in three out of the last four games between these two teams.
These teams have combined to score an average of 228.6 points per game in their last 10 head to head games and they have combined to score over 224 points in seven out of their last 10 meetings, including 226 in Game 2. The Rockets take a lot of three-pointers every night and they made 22 the last time out. I expect them to fire away again on Tuesday. On the other hand, the Lakers’ size advantage should lead to another efficient scoring night for the Lakers. Anthony Davis made 58% of his shots last Sunday and unless the Rockets grow by several inches overnight, he’s going to have another big night here. I like these teams to hit the over.
Prediction: Over 224
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