The second half of Thursday’s NBA doubleheader on TNT pits the Houston Rockets against the Los Angeles Lakers in a 10:30 p.m. tip at the Staples Center.
The Rockets went into last week’s All-Star break at 33-24 straight-up in their first 57 games with a 26-30-1 record against the spread at BetAnySports. They are in fifth place in the Western Conference standings and eight full games off the pace set by Golden State. Houston dropped two of its last three games SU and ATS with the total staying UNDER or ending as a PUSH in three of its last four contests.
By his own admission, MVP-candidate James Harden has told the media that he basically needs to score at least 30 points a game to give his team the consistency that has been lacking at times. With 42 points in last Wednesday’s loss to Minnesota, he has posted at least 30 points in each of his last 31 games. Houston has posted a SU 21-10 record during that same span.
The Lakers are hoping that a healthy LeBron James will be enough to push LA back into the postseason for the first time since 2013. They went into the break at 28-29 SU with a 3-7 slide in their last 10 games. The Lakers are three games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western standings. LA was 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS in a recent six-game road trip. It has gone 16-12 SU at home with an 11-16-1 record ATS on its home court.
James still leads the Lakers in points (26.8) rebounds (8.6) and assists (7.6), but he has missed 18 games this season due to injury. He put up 28 points with 11 rebounds and 16 assists last Tuesday against Atlanta in a 117-113 road loss. He also scored 28 points with 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a recent road win against Boston on Feb. 7. Kyle Zuma is second on the team in points per game with 19.1.
James already knows what it takes to carry a team into the playoffs, so I am looking for a strong effort coming off the break to carry the Lakers to a SU win on Thursday night.