Lakers vs Rockets Preview & Free Pick [Game 2]

LA Lakers (1-1) vs Houston (1-1)
When: Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
Where: AdventHealth Arena,
Orlando, Florida
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Los Angeles -5.5/224

After a lackluster Game 1, the Los Angeles Lakers came back with a vengeance on Sunday and evened-up their best-of-seven series with the Houston Rockets at a game apiece. Game 3 is set for Tuesday night with the Rockets being the ‘home’ team in this one. The Lakers dominated the first half and four quarter en route to a 117-109 victory, as Houston’s Russell Westbrook continued to struggle. Since his return from a strained right quad that cost him to miss the first four games of the playoffs, the All-Star guard has yet to approach his top form. Westbrook posted his second seven-turnover performance since he resumed play. Since returning from the four-month shutdown, Westbrook has averaged 15.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 4.2 turnovers. He’s only shooting 39 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Lakers outscored the Rockets in all key areas in Game 2 including transition points (20-6) and points in the paint (54-26). Houston is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings with Los Angeles.

The combo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis stepped up big time in Game 2. Davis had 34 points and 10 rebounds, while James fell just shy of a triple-double with 28 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. The Lakers bench was terrific, especially Rajon Rondo (10 points, nine assists), who had an incredible +28 rating. Marcus Morris contributed 16 points, while Kyle Kuzma chipped in 13 off the bench. Rondo’s defense helped the Lakers finish with 11 steals and a 27-18 advantage in points off turnovers. James is averaging 24 points in the series.

James Harden once again was the leading scorer for the Rockets with his 27 points, while Eric Gordon had 24 points on 6-for-12 shooting from three-point territory. However, Westbrook was 4-for-15 from the floor and was the only Rockets starter with a minus-rating (-14). Despite Westbrook’s play, the Rockets were able to make a run in the third quarter thanks to hitting 11 threes in the final two quarters to just three by the Lakers.

The Rockets don’t stand much of a chance if Westbrook continues to play like this. They will have to shoot lights out and not get dominated in the paint by Davis. The Lakers woke up in Game 2 and I think this series will be theres.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.

Pick: Lakers -5