AccuScore has the visiting Houston Rockets as solid 70.6 percent favorites Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. After 10,000 simulations, the average score is 109-101, with the Lakers having a 51 percent chance of covering the +8.5 spread. When picking either side of the spread for this matchup, the decision ultimately comes down how much pride the bettor thinks the Lakers will have.
With Dwight Howard back in town, keeping the game close for a moral victory might just be what the Lakers have in mind. Both teams have a fairly comparable probability at a close win (4 points or less), but Houston has approximately four times the chance of Los Angeles at a big win (10 points or more).
Dwight Howard: 20 points (58% FG), 13 rebounds, 2 blocks
James Harden: 21 points (43% FG), 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers
Chris Kaman: 15 points (51% FG), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block
Ryan Kelly: 14 points (41% FG), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block
What to Watch for
More important than the Rockets vs Lakers is the in-game battle between Howard and the city of L.A. Very few fans expect the Lakers to win this game, but seeing a poor performance from Howard will be a victory in itself. From the fans to the coaching staff to the management, seemingly everyone was disappointed in Howard’s post-game last season.
So far this season, 24 players have posted up min 200 times – Howard is ranked 22nd out of 24 in post up efficiency. Look for the Rockets to run some plays for Howard early and the Lakers to attack the paint early to get the big man in foul trouble. Either way, it should be a fun atmosphere to be a part of.
Barring some sort of miracle, it’s tough to envision the Lakers winning this one. L.A. did get a miracle in its first matchup with Houston earlier in the season, and there is no rule that says miracles can’t happen twice. Expect the Lakers’ crowd to be fired up to help keep the game close, at least for one half. Talent should ultimately win, however. 105-98, Houston wins.
Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
All projection data provided by AccuScore.