The two series being played Tuesday are on opposite trajectory. Khris Middleton powered in improbable Game 4 for a Giannis-less Milwaukee Bucks over the Miami Heat to prevent a 4-game sweep.
Game 3 of the Los Angeles Lakers-Houston Rockets will break the series tie after the Lakeshow evened the series in Game 2 following impressive performances from their dynamic duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Lakers -4.5 (-110) versus Rockets
The Lakers -5 (-110) may have discovered a pivotal adjustment to their rotation in Game 2’s 117-109 win. Rajon Rondo missed most of the restart with a broken hand but has been reactivated for this series. In Game 2, Rondo was +28 while on the court and was integral in the Lakers’ defensive success with James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Los Angeles head coach Frank Vogel said about Rondo after Game 2:
“He was a plus-28 tonight, took the assignment of guarding James [Harden], guarding Russ [Westbrook] at certain times, and wreaked havoc defensively for us both on the ball and in helping us mix coverages.”
A major offensive advantage the Lakers should be exploiting in this series is in their fastbreak scoring. Los Angeles is 2nd in fastbreak points per game and Houston allows the 8th-most fastbreak points per game. So far this series, Los Angeles is outscoring Houston, 38-15, in fastbreak points.
The idea behind this is that the Lakers will use its defensive adjustments that seemed to work in Game 2 to make things difficult for the Rockets to score. I see Los Angeles grabbing long rebounds from Houston’s threes and pushing the ball into transition. Also, Lakers’ opponents have the 3rd-highest turnover percentage in the NBA. Harden and Westbrook have a combined 22 turnovers in the first two games.
Additionally, the Lakers covered as 5.5-point favorites in Game 2 even though they were outscored 41-23 in the 3rd quarter, made 10 fewer threes and six less free throws. Los Angeles won handily because they are getting easy shots. Case in point, LeBron and AD are both shooting 50-plus % from the field in this series.
LAKERS -4.5 (-110) is good money in Game 3. New to sports betting? An $110 bet on the Lakers -4.5 (-110) pays a $100 profit if Los Angeles beats Houston by five or more points.
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