);
Los Angeles Lakers

Wednesday Game Previews: Harden, Rockets host slumping Pelicans; Embiid, 76ers in LA to face the Lakers

Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons
(Getty Images)

New Orleans Pelicans (22-28) vs Houston Rockets (29-20)

Where to Watch

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 30

Time: 6:30 AM IST

TV: Sony ESPN

Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Game Preview

Anthony Davis has missed the last four games with a finger-related injury and in that time, the Pelicans have gone 1-3. In fact, since Dec. 13, the last time New Orleans had a .500 record (15-15), the team has gone 7-13.

The season, however, had begun on a far more positive note with the team going 10-7 over the first month up until Nov. 20. Their season spiraled out of control from there and the problems all seem to be one side of the floor.

Before Davis began sitting out, the Pelicans had an offensive rating of 113.6, third only to the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. Their defense, despite having two members of last year's All-Defense First Team, ranks in the bottom third of the league at 27th with a rating of 112.0, only better than the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, and the Phoenix Suns.

They are currently on a 3-game losing streak and have lost six of their last eight.

It's been a different story for the Houston Rockets.

After a miserable first one-fourth of the season, where the Conference Finalists from last season had gone 11-14 in the first 25 games.

On Dec. 19, 2018, the Rockets only ranked above the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference standings. Since then, they have won 18 of their 24 games (66.7%), of which the last 13 have come without Chris Paul. Through stretches since Dec. 10, the Rockets have even played without Eric Gordon and Clint Capela, and sometimes without both.

Yet, Houston kept winning as the reigning MVP James Harden carried them on his back. Through these past 24 games, Harden has averaged 42.1 points, 8.0 assists, and 7.5 rebounds on 43.9% shooting from the field and 36.7% from beyond the arc. In the last 23 games, Harden has scored 30+ points, an achievement second in NBA history only to Wilt Chamberlain.

Game Notes

  • The visiting Pelicans are 7-20 in the 27 previous road games.
  • The Houston Rockets are 19-7 at home and have won 15 of their last 17 games at the Toyota Center in Houston.
  • New Orleans would reportedly be without Anthony Davis (Finger), Nikola Mirotic (Calf), and E'Tawn Moore (Rest). Meanwhile, the duo of Julius Randle () and Trevon Bluiett are said to be game-time decisions.
  • The hosts welcomed back Chris Paul in their previous game (a win vs. the Orlando Magic), however, they would still be without Clint Capela (Thumb) while Daniel House Jr. (Undisclosed) is a game-time decision.

Last Time They Played

Date: Dec. 30, 2018

Score: Rockets 108-104 Pelicans

Rockets: James Harden - 41 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.

Pelicans: Julius Randle - 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists on 52.6% shooting.

Box Score


Philadelphia 76ers (32-18) vs Los Angeles Lakers (26-24)

Where to Watch

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 30

Time: 9:00 AM IST

TV: Sony ESPN

Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Game Preview

The Lakers, whose offensive rating ranks 24th since LeBron has missed time with a groin injury, did receive some reinforcements with the return of Rajon Rondo last Thursday but the team still has plenty of players on the injury list.

So far, without the four-time league MVP, the young team has gone 6-10 in 16 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.

This 76ers contest in Los Angeles is the last before the Lakers head-off for a huge 13-day, six-game road trip (the first of which is in LA for a Clippers home game).

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia franchise is in the middle of a monster stretch of their schedule which could go on to define their schedule.

They have already played the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, and the San Antonio Spurs going 3-2, and are now said to be the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers (2), Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets.

The media reports surrounding the team's Big 3 being unhappy with their offense down the stretch of games have stopped.

Game Notes

  • The visiting 76ers are 11-13 in their 24 previous games on the road. This contest is their second of a four-game Western Conference road trip.
  • On the other hand, the Lakers have gone 16-11 at home at the Staples Center.
  • The 76ers will be without the trio of Markelle Fultz (Shoulder), Justin Patton (Foot), and Zhaire Smith (Foot). Meanwhile, Jonah Bolden (Achilles) is reportedly a game-time decision.
  • Meanwhile, the Lakers will surely be without Lonzo Ball (Ankle). The trio of Josh Hart (Knee), LeBron James (Groin) and Kyle Kuzma (Hip) are game-time decisions.

Last Time They Played

Date: Dec. 8, 2017

Score: Lakers 107-104 76ers

Lakers: Lonzo Ball - 10 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 stelas, and 4 blocks.

76ers: Joel Embiid - 33 points, 7 reounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks on 64.7% shooting.

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