Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets are ahead of the Game 4 of the Western Conference semis. At the moment, the purple and gold lead 2-1, but we need to say that both of their wins came after close games. The Rockets are a feisty team, capable of beating any side in the league, and Mike D’Antoni will definitely have some kind of response after two defeats.
Houston’s (+100) main problem in the recent two games is the bench. The players who aren’t starters are struggling to contribute, and we had a situation that just one non-starter scored points in the previous two games. Against the Lakers (or any team at this stage of the season), that is unacceptable. The key to defeating the LAL is the bench, as they too struggle with providing James and Davis propper support.
Westbrook is oscillating, and even though he had 30 points in the last game, he still isn’t at his best level of play. The Lakers stopped him in Game 2, cutting the support for Harden. In Game 3, LAL froze Eric Gordon and Covington, allowing the Beard to play on his own again. That is why D’Antoni needs to find a way to wake up his bench. Truth to be told, they did appear without Danuel House, and who knows to drill a few threes from time to time.
The Rockets are scoring 107.7 points, which is far below the expected, but these are playoffs, and it is expected to see the drop of efficiency at some point.
LeBron moved the Lakers (-205) in the last two games. He dropped 36 points last night along with four blocks, which pretty much pumped up his teammates, who would then create a 15-2 series in the early fourth period to solve the event. LBJ was one assist short of a triple-double in Game 2, and he definitely shifted into a higher gear following a failure in the series’ opener.
Anthony Davis is constant as always, delivering double-double in every LAL game, and it seems that he figured out the Rockets’ defense. Ten assists over the previous two games are our main proof for that.
Big relief for these two was Rajon Rondo. The 34-year old showed up last night, scoring 21 points and 9 rebounds. He was a big help for both James and AD, because he played excellent defense, interrupting the flow of Houston’s game.
Head to Head Games
After losing the first matchup of the season, Harden and co. went on a three-game winning streak. However, as we saw, the LAL bounced back with back-to-back wins.
Game 3 ended with 112-102 for the Lakers, who won only because of that burst in the final period.
All three games have been pretty inefficient. When you see the Rockets and the Lakers, you probably expect at least 230 points, but that wasn’t the case in this series. We share the opinion that it is mostly because of the Rockets’ bench.
Over/Under limit here is 220.5 points, and we think that it is time to see one efficient contest between these two units.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.