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Source: Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LeBron_James_crop.jpg

Lakers at Rockets [Dec 28] - NBA Predictions And Picks

Ernesto Cova - Author
By

Dec. 28 2021, Published 10:43 a.m. ET

The Los Angeles Lakers will visit the Houston Rockets trying to put an end to their five-game skid and get back on track.

The purple and gold have yet to win since coach Frank Vogel entered the league's health and safety protocols, showing little-to-none effort in the defensive end.

The Rockets, on the other hand, continue to be a young, up-and-coming team that will need plenty of time to find their best shape.

Check out the key stories, numbers, and trends for this game.

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Can Jalen Green Make A Late Push For Rookie Of The Year?

Second-overall pick Jalen Green is expected to be back for the Rockets tonight after missing several weeks with a hamstring injury.

Originally favored to win Rookie of the Year honors, Green has been fairly inconsistent with averages of 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game on 38% from the floor.

Now with the Rockets fully embracing the rebuild, he'll have even more of a green light to shoot his way out of his slump and make a late push to win the award.

When Will Frank Vogel Be Back?

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Source: Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frank_Vogel_NBA_TV.jpeg

Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel tested positive for COVID-19 and has missed his team's past 5 games, with interim coach David Fizdale taking over.

While Vogel was often the scapegoat for the Lakers' struggles this season, Fizdale has been over his head since assuming the duties, claiming that cloning LeBron James is the only way to turn the team around:

"We can clone him. Do you know any good scientists? Can we make a duplicate? I don’t know," Fizdale said, per HoopsHype.

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Key Stats, Injuries, And Trends

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Source: Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kevin_porter_jr_vs_San_lorenzo.jpg

The Lakers scored the 11th-most points per game at 110. while the Rockets have the second-worst defense at 114.3 points allowed per game, per Covers.

Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games, while they're also 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog.

When it comes to injuries, Houston is expected to be without Kevin Porter Jr. again, while D.J. Augustin, Garrison Matthews, K.J. Martin, and Ja'Sean Tate will also be on the sidelines.

For the Lakers, Kendrick Nunn, Rajon Rondo, Austin Reeves, Anthony Davis, Kent Bazemore, and Trevor Ariza will all be on street clothes.

Picks For Lakers At Rockets

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Source: Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toyota_Center_Game_7_2018_playoffs.jpg

The Lakers have dropped five straight games and are now below .500. They need to make a statement and the Rockets are the perfect rival to do so.

Even if the purple and gold may have some issues keeping up with the Rockets' energy, they're still a more talented, better-coached, and more rested team, as the Rockets played last night.

Neither of these teams is defensively sound but they can certainly light it up, so we expect the Lakers to cover the 5-point spread and the game to go over the 228.5 total.

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