Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Tip-off: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – 10:30 PM ET
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
The Los Angeles Lakers know what they need to do as they head into their regular-season finale this evening. If they want to impress YouWager experts then need to beat the Houston Rockets, and the seventh seed in the Western Conference NBA playoffs is theirs.
However, if they lose Kobe Bryant may not have to worry about watching his team in the postseason.
The Lakers could know their postseason fate before they take the court tonight, as the Utah Jazz begin their contest versus the Memphis Grizzlies 2 1/2 hours before Los Angeles and Houston tip off at Staples Center.
If Utah loses it would give the Lakers a playoff berth no matter what the result is, but is the Jazz win it would force Los Angeles (44-37) to bring the Rockets down and avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 2005.
The Lakers have won four in a row, but Bryant is facing six-to-nine months of recovery time after having surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon suffered in Friday’s 118-116 victory against the Golden State Warriors.
Dwight Howard had 26 points and 17 rebounds while Steve Blake scored a season-high 23 in Sunday’s 91-86 home victory versus the San Antonio Spurs – the Lakers’ first-round rival if they can come out victorious tonight.
However, according to the NBA live betting lines, the Lakers need a better offensive performance to avoid a third straight defat versus the Rockets after shooting just 36.5 percent Sunday.
Houston still has a chance to earn the sixth seed with a victory and a Golden State defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers tonight. If both teams manage to come out victorious, the Rockets end up in the seventh spot and will face the Spurs in the first round.
The Rockets have won four of the last five meetings versus Los Angeles, with the defeat coming 119-108 on Nov. 18 at Staples Center as Dwight Howard finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds.