The HOUSTON and the LA LAKERS will both be gunning for a victory on 12/3/2017 at 9:35 PM when they meet in a game matchup.
HOUSTON vs LA LAKERS
When: 9:30 PM ET, Sunday, December 3, 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
|709||HOUSTON||12 (-110)||225 (-110)||-850
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)
PREDICTION: Rockets 116, Lakers 105
Oddsmakers currently have the LA LAKERS listed as 12 point favorites versus the HOUSTON, while the game’s total is sitting at 225.
LOS ANGELES — After finishing one of the most dominant Novembers in NBA history, the Houston Rockets will try to pick up where they left off when they play the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday evening.
The Rockets went 12-1 in November and outscored their opponents by an average of 16.769 points, the largest margin of victory for the month since the Boston Celtics won by an average of 16.833 points in 1963.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (17-4): Houston’s current six-game run – during which it has averaged 120.7 points – coincides with the return of point guard Chris Paul from a knee injury, and the veteran has been running the show with incredible efficiency. “The court’s so open, you get in there, you make the easy play for the most part,” Paul told reporters. “I don’t expect to have any (turnovers). It’s like a quarterback. You don’t plan to have interceptions because every time you turn it over, it’s an opportunity for the other team.” Paul has 72 assists and only nine turnovers in seven games this season and has just four giveaways in 120 minutes over a four-game span.
“We’re winning by big margins, but we’re not playing great,” Houston forward P.J. Tucker told the Houston Chronicle. “We have to challenge ourselves to get better.”
There should be added motivation for the Rockets because coach Mike D’Antoni and a number of Houston players have past ties to Los Angeles.
D’Antoni coached the Lakers for two seasons, including their last trip to the postseason in 2013.
Rockets guard James Harden, who leads the NBA at 31.5 points and 9.8 assists, grew up and attended high school in the Los Angeles area, as did fellow starter Trevor Ariza, who helped the Lakers to their last NBA title in 2009.
Starting point guard Chris Paul spent the past six seasons playing home games at Staples Center with the Los Angeles Clippers, and second-leading scorer Eric Gordon (19.2) played his first three NBA seasons with the Clippers before he was traded for Paul.
D’Antoni said Houston’s ties to the Lakers and the city shouldn’t play a role in the team’s performance.
“We have a good basketball team. I don’t care where we play,” D’Antoni said. “For these guys, veterans, it makes no difference. We just have to make sure we’re ready to play mentally, physically. It’s my job to get them there and then their job is to be professional, ready to go. We’re in a good spot right now. We’re just trying to stay there.”
The Lakers are in a 15-game stretch in which they play the top two teams in the Western Conference, the Rockets and Golden State Warriors, three times each.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (8-14): Los Angeles went into the fourth quarter with the lead at Denver before fading late. Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had scored at least 20 points in four straight games before being held to three on 1-of-7 shooting – including 0-of-4 from 3-point range Saturday. Forward Brandon Ingram led the way with 20 points and he is averaging 26 over the last two games, although the 20-year-old has three assists and 12 turnovers in that span and was part of a unit that tied a season high with 21 giveaways against the Nuggets.
They played well in their first meeting of the season against the Warriors on Wednesday, losing 120-115 in overtime after missing a game-winning shot at the end of regulation.
They overcame a 12-point deficit to take a four-point halftime lead Saturday night at the Denver Nuggets, but were outscored 15-0 over the final 3:43 of the 115-100 loss.
“The end of the fourth is about as bad as we could have played,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said.
Additionally, Lakers starting point guard Lonzo Ball experienced tightness in both calves and was limping noticeably afterward. He will be re-evaluated Sunday and his availability against the Rockets will be determined then.
Harden fell one point short of becoming the third player in NBA history to average 35 points and 10 assists for a month. He’s averaging 23.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 28 career games against the Lakers.
Harden had 34 points and a career-high 17 assists in a 120-114 loss to the Lakers in the season opener last year, becoming the second player in NBA history to record at least 30 points and 15 assists in an opener.
1. Rockets C Clint Capela has scored at least 20 points in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
2. The Lakers have given up an average of 118.8 points during their four-game slide.
3. Houston won two meetings with Los Angeles at home last season while averaging 136.5 points, but it lost 120-114 in its lone visit to the Lakers.
STATS AND RECORDS
|3/15/17||LAL 100||HOU 139||139||50||54.9||100||38||46.2|