Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers
Tuesday, 10/26/10, 10:30 PM EST, TV: TNT
Opening Point Spread: Los Angeles Lakers -7.5
Current Betting Line: Los Angeles Lakers -7.5
Opening Total: 196.5
Current Total: 196
Current Moneyline: Los Angeles -325 / Houston +275
Houston was busy during the offseason after posting a 42-40 last year and missing the playoffs for the first time in four years. The Rockets will welcome back center Yao Ming tonight in his first regular season game since breaking his foot in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Lakers on May 8, 2009. “I am very excited,” Yao said. “I am just looking forward to playing a great season. I think I can count on my foot now.” It’s been stated that Yao will not play more than 25 minutes on any given night this season and the team signed Brad Miller to backup the superstar. Both were limited in the preseason, which allowed Jordan Hill to play extensively at center, giving the coaching staff a look at him at that position. The team is 36-36 ATS as an underdog the last two years.
The Rockets will now have a full season to get things in order with a new-look roster, after acquiring Hill, Jared Jeffries and Kevin Martin on February 18 of last year. Houston also added guard Courtney Lee during the summer. Head coach Rick Adelman hopes a younger, more athletic roster can help in lowering the amount of games that players miss during the season. “I like our depth all the way through,” said Adelman. “I don’t think anybody should have to play 40 minutes. We have quality guys coming off the bench.” Point guard Aaron Brooks is expected to be the leader of this team, coming off a breakthrough season that had him garner the NBA’s Most Improved Award.
Los Angeles is ready to start a run for a third consecutive title and the team will watch the franchise’s 16th championship banner raised on Tuesday night at Staples Center. “We’re confident in ourselves,” said Kobe Bryant. “I’m not a guy and we’re not a team, that worries about what other people are doing.” The Lakers return nine players from last year’s squad and added a few pieces to freshen up the roster. Los Angeles added free agents Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff during the offseason. Head coach Phil Jackson assumes the bench and will try to complete his fourth three-peat in his incredible coaching career. He has won 11 titles and has a .705 regular-season winning percentage. The team is 101-106 ATS over the last two years.
The Lakers took last season’s series from the Rockets 3-1 after sweeping the 2008-09 season series for the first time since 2001-02. Los Angeles is 8-2 against Houston in the last 10 meetings and holds a 13-8 all-time advantage at Staples Center. Under Jackson, the team has posted an impressive 27-11 mark against Houston in 38 regular-season meetings. Bryant has averaged 26.7 points per game in 46 career games (41 starts) versus the Rockets. For the 18th time since moving to Los Angeles, the Lakers will be opening the regular season at home. In those games, the Blue and Gold have compiled a 13-4 record. Overall, Los Angeles is 35-15 in 50 regular season openers.
Bettors will find that the Rockets are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games as a road underdog, while the Lakers 21-10 ATS in the last 31 meetings.