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Los Angeles Lakers

Game Preview: Can Lakers back-up OKC win in Houston?

Lonzo Ball and James Harden
Lonzo Ball and James Harden (Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers (25-21) vs Houston Rockets (25-19)

Where to Watch

Date: Sunday, Jan. 20

Time: 5:30 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Game Preview

Both these teams are coming off high-scoring overtime games.

The Rockets dropped one at home on Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets despite the reigning MVP James Harden dropping 58 points while the young Lakers without LeBron James registered a statement 138-128 road win in Oklahoma City on Friday.

The Lakers, whose offensive rating ranks 30th since LeBron has missed time with a groin injury, had their best offensive night in the win at OKC. So far, without the four-time league MVP, the young team has gone 5-7 in 12 games, which isn't so bad considering the fact the 2016-17 Cleveland Cavaliers that went to the 2017 Finals went 0-8 without LeBron that season.

Including the Rockets game, the Lakers have a really tough stretch leading up to the All-Star break, which includes a monster six-game road trip. Till 13th February, they have games against the Warriors (2), the Philadelphia 76ers (2), the Boston Celtics, and the Indiana Pacers.

The upcoming schedule would be a great test for the young Lakers. It would also be interesting to see when in this schedule does LeBron return to the line-up.

Coming to the Rockets, it's all about how much help the Harden's shorthanded supporting cast can offer him.

After the team's 11 wins in 12 games stretch in December, the Rockets have gone 4-4 in eight games with Harden averaging 44.0 points on 40.5% shooting from the field and 24.6% from beyond the arc in those four losses.

In the team's overtime loss against the Nets, Eric Gordon, who could take some scoring pressure off Harden, returned from injury and scored 20 points on 54.5% shooting in 21 minutes.

Game Notes

  • The Rockets are 16-7 in their previous 23 games at home at the Toyota Center.
  • Meanwhile, the Lakers are 10-12 in their 22 previous road games.
  • Houston is set to miss a host of players - Brandon Knight (Knee), Chris Paul (Hamstring), Carmelo Anthony (Coach's decision), and Clint Capela (Thumb). Eric Gordon (Knee) and James Ennis III (Calf) are said to be game-time decisions.
  • For the 13th straight game, the young Lakers would be without their veteran duo of LeBron James (Groin) and Rajon Rondo (Hand).

Last Time They Played

Date: Dec. 14, 2018

Score: Lakers 111-126 Rockets

Lakers: LeBron James - 29 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals on 66.7% shooting

Rockets: James Harden - 50 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals on 53.8% shooting.

Box Score

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