In a series featuring four superstars duking it out, a former star-turned-role player could be the X factor as the Los Angeles Lakers look to take control of their second-round series with Houston. The teams tangle Thursday night in Game 4, with the Lakers seizing a 2-1 lead over the Rockets with a hard-fought 112-102 win Tuesday buoyed by 21 points from Rajon Rondo.
Opening Odds Analysis
The Lakers opened as 5.5-point favorites but have settled in at -5 at most sportsbooks. The total of 220.5 hasn’t moved; if it holds, it’ll be the lowest number of the series.
Los Angeles News & Notes
LeBron James and Anthony Davis might be able to lead the Lakers to victory by themselves, but it’s a whole lot easier if they get some help. Rondo has made a major impact in a reserve role in Los Angeles’s two victories, averaging 15.5 points, nine assists and three steals while shooting a blistering 60 percent from the field over that span.
As for a recommended prop play, it might be worth going back to the OVER on Davis’s rebound total, which sits at 12.5. Davis has averaged 13 rebounds over the first three games and pulled down 15 boards in the Lakers’ double-digit Game 3 win – and that was with Houston connecting at 40 percent from deep. If that number drops, Davis’s rebound chances grow.
Houston News & Notes
The Rockets had no answer for “LeBrondo” but they’re by no means out of this series. That said, whatever has prevented them from taking three-pointers with reckless abandon will need to be dealt with if they hope to leverage that advantage into a victory in Game 4. Houston attempted just 30 treys Tuesday night, their fewest of any game in the postseason.
Just as concerning: the Rockets were forced into a six-man rotation for Game 3 and might find themselves in a similar situation in Game 4 with guard Danuel House unlikely to play. He was a late scratch Tuesday night for “personal reasons” and is currently under investigation for a potential violation of the league’s protocol for players who are in the Orlando bubble.
Betting Pick: Lakers -5
The teams have settled into a style of play that benefits the Lakers a lot more than the Rockets – and with LeBron and AD still relatively fresh, Los Angeles is a good bet to cover.