The Los Angeles Lakers are the best team in the NBA and Dave Gray thinks they'll have too much at either end for the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night...
"The Lakers have so many ways to beat you, whether it is just outscoring opponents or holding on defence, that it makes them a tough prospect for even the best teams."
Los Angeles Lakers @ Houston Rockets
Tuesday, 01:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Lakers seeking back-to-back wins over the Rockets
The Lakers ran out comfortable 18 point winners when these teams met on Sunday night. They got up big in the first half and just cruised to an easy victory. They are shooting so well right now. Their 49.3% field goal percentage is good for third in the league. That combined with the fifth best defence is almost impossible to beat.
Anthony Davis had got off to a relatively slow start, at least by his own high standards. But even he has found his scoring over the past couple of weeks. Dennis Schroeder has been a nice addition that gives them another scorer and LeBron James continues to defy the ageing process to lead the team with an average of 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
The Lakers were the best team in the league heading into the offseason. They have got another year of chemistry built as well as some nice moves that have only made them stronger. They have so many ways to beat opponents, whether it is just outscoring or holding on defence, that it makes them a tough prospect for even the best teams.
Offseason uncertainty showing for Harden
The Rockets were always shaky on the defensive end last season and not much has improved so far this season. But where they have seen a big drop off in scoring. They are finding ways to score from more areas than just James Harden, but it is not translating to wins. With the amount of points they give up, they have to be shooting well and they just are not doing enough right now.
Harden did of course have a disjointed offseason with all the trade rumours, and it is showing on the court. He is still scoring well, but he really needs to be getting more for this Rockets team to win. John Wall has started well for the Rockets but they are no doubt weaker than they were a year ago with Russell Westbrook.
Lakers far too strong
The Rockets just do not have the defence to hold the Lakers down. And unless they found their shooting - they are currently 24th in three point percentage - then they do not have the team to keep up. They are just outmatched at both ends of the court. The Lakers won by 18 on Sunday and barely got out of first gear. It is hard to see what has changed since to believe the Rockets can win this one, or even keep it particularly close.