Just when the Lakers look like they are gasping for air with a struggling offense and an inability to win, they go into Oklahoma City and pull off the upset victory 138-128 as a double-digit underdog. That makes two wins in a row after going 3-7 in the team’s prior 10 games. At this point, the Lakers are just looking to survive until Lebron James returns from injury, which should be soon. The offensive explosion against the Thunder may have had more to do with poor defense from OK as opposed to good offense by the Lakers, a team that has struggled to put points on the board without James on the floor. Leading scorer Kyle Kuzma (19.0 PPG) continues to play very well.
The Houston Rockets’ sideline looks more like an emergency room that a basketball sideline. Currently, Clint Capela and Chris Paul are out with injuries while Eric Gordon has just returned from a 3-week rest and might be a little rusty. These injuries have certainly played a role in the team going 4-4 so far in the month of January. These injury problems could also not have come at a worst time as the Rockets had finally got things going after a rough start to the season. Of course, superstar James Harden is doing all he can to will this team into the playoffs. His average is currently 35.5 to lead the NBA by a large margin. He is on a streak of 18 games in a row of scoring at least 32 points, including 57 and 58 in the last two games.
Prediction: At this point, there is no stopping Harden. However, the rest of the Rockets team is nothing more than a ragtag bunch of veterans who might or might not come up with a good. At least with the Lakers, bettors know what they are getting. Play Los Angeles +7 (score – Los Angeles 113-112)