The Houston Rockets (45-36) finish up their regular season with a game against the Los Angeles Lakers (44-37), who are trying to clinch the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, Wednesday night. The game tips off at 10:30 pm ET and will be televised nationally on ESPN as the second game of a doubleheader along with regional coverage on Comcast Sports Net – Houston and TWC SN. The Lakers currently are 2.5 point favorites with the over/under set at 203 points.
The Rockets dropped a 119-112 decision to Phoenix Monday. Chandler Parsons led five Rockets in double figures with 24 points. Carlos Delfino scored 23 off the bench, Jeremy Lin added 20, James Harden contributed 16 and Terrence Jones had 12 for Houston, which shot 46.7 percent from the field. The Rockets were 11 of 29 from three point range but turned the ball over 16 times in the game. In addition, the Rockets missed 8 of 23 free throws in the loss.
Houston is 1st in the league in scoring offense, averaging 106.1 points per game. They have five players averaging double figures this season, led by Harden, who is fifth in the league scoring 25.9 points a game. Parsons averages 15.4 per night while Lin contributes 13.4 points and a team-high 6 assists per night. Delfino puts in 10.7 points per game and Omer Asik has been solid; he averages 10.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. His rebounding total puts him third in the league this season.
Greg Smith, Donatas Motiejunas and Thomas Robinson will be the key players off the bench beyond Delfino. The Rockets are the third-worst team in the league in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score 102.5 points per game.
Los Angeles won their first game without Kobe Bryant, beating the Spurs 91-86 Sunday. The Lakers need to win over Houston or lose and have the Jazz lose to Memphis in order to make the playoffs. Dwight Howard led three Lakers in double figures with 26 points and 17 rebounds. Steve Blake added 23 points filling in for Bryant and Antawn Jamison scored 15 off the bench. The Lakers shot 36.5 percent from the floor, missed 11 of 31 free throws but beat San Antonio on the glass, 58-46. Steve Nash continues to be out with a strained hamstring.
The Lakers are 6th in the league in scoring offense, averaging 102.2 points per game this season. They have five players in double figures, led by Bryant, whose 27.3 points per game are third in the league. Howard (17.1 points, league-high 12.4 rebounds) is putting up a double-double down low, Metta World Peace is averaging 12.4 points per game and Steve Nash still runs the offense, contributing 12.7 points and a team-high 6.7 assists per game. Gasol returned from his injury recently and is contributing 13.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per night.
The Lakers have a short rotation; after Earl Clark, Jodie Meeks and Jamison, there’s little to talk about. The Lakers are 24th in the league in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score 101.1 points per game.
Head to Head Matchup
Los Angeles has a commanding 131-66 advantage in the regular season series. Houston has won four of the last five meetings between the teams, including a 125-112 victory on January 8 in Houston when the teams met last.
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