• Experts predict the Los Angeles Lakers winning against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semis 
  • The Lakers have the advantage in size but the Rockets say that they are up for the challenge 
  • The Lakers are seven-point favorites in Game 1

The extended time off would yield quick dividends for the Los Angeles Lakers as they are projected to advance to the Western Conference Finals with ease, the latest NBA Playoffs odds suggest.

Coming off a surge in the first round, LeBron James and company are expected to impose their will in the conference semis against a battle-spent Houston Rockets, who had to put up a gallant stand against the Thunder in seven games before punching a ticket to the next round.

Experts’ picks on ESPN show the series ending in at least five games, about 60% of which predict the purple and gold advancing in six.

One glaring advantage for Frank Vogel’s squad is their size in most positions, particularly with a 6’8 James manning the point against James Harden and Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis having a feast in the paint over P.J. Tucker.

“We’re undersized,” Tucker admitted, per Michael C. Wright of

The difference in size, however, is not seen as a handicap by the Rockets, who, by virtue of Mike D’Antoni’s unconventional coaching principles, has proven that small ball could thrive against some of the heftiest line-ups in the league.

“OK, so what? The elephant is in the room. It’s always going to be something we’ve got to deal with. We do it on purpose. It’s not like it’s something that somebody just threw on us and we’ve got to deal with it,” Tucker continued.

“We choose to be this size. We choose to play the way we play because we feel like we have an advantage. We have multiple advantages by playing that way with our personnel. So, instead of saying how we dealt with being undersized, I think the flip is really how do other people feel about playing against us, how did they feel in their matchups against us? I think that’s more of a question.”

The Lakers are pegged at -550 to clinch the series, while the Rockets are huge underdogs at +425.

Game 1 is set on Friday with L.A. pegged with a seven-point handicap as favorites.

Lakers vs Rockets West Semis
Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets in the first half at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 6, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Getty Images