Preview: Lakers Look for First Win in LeBron James Era Against Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets Dec 31, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) handles the ball while Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Even with a debut of 26 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists, LeBron James and his supporting cast were unable to bring the Lakers to a victory against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The team shot a paltry 23 percent from the three-point line, finally connecting on a shot from Josh Hart during the third quarter. Despite all of the post-game overreaction from social media, it is still a team that only has four returning rotation players and a ton of new additions. Portland is a team that has a lot of continuity between players and they played like it. Houston is such a team that has a lot of carryover from last year, of course without Trevor Ariza and the addition of Carmelo Anthony.

With their first game behind them, the Lakers will look to win their first game of the LeBron era in front of their home fans against the Houston Rockets.

Having faced against one of the best backcourts in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Lakers will have to play against another tandem considered one of the best. James Harden, like Lonzo Ball, is from southern California. Unlike Lonzo Ball, he is one of the best offensive players in the league. Paired up with CP3, they are quite a formidable duo that will make life hard on the purple and gold. Harden, in particular, has averaged just a bit more than 30 points per game against the Lakers during his career.

The Lakers are still very much in the process of figuring things out. I want to see if Luke can come up with putting the team in a position to succeed with the players out there. Hopefully, the Beasley/Stephenson combo is something that he could clearly see not working even in a small sample size. Maybe Ingram and LeBron have their minutes staggered so Ingram can take some of the ball-handling load from Stephenson. Does Josh Hart get the start over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after the latter’s appalling showing during the preseason and game one? Will we see more death lineup from the Lakers if the Rockets choose to go small?

Defensively it’s interesting to see how the team responds. If Nik Stauskas can go off on a career night, we’ll see if Isaiah Hartenstein can post career points off the bench. Maybe it will be another random player like Carmelo Anthony. Mike D’Antoni is one of the best coaches and if there’s a coach that can find ways to exploit things, he’s the one.

I doubt the Lakers will be as bad as they were from three as they were against Portland, but I feel like a lot of it will rely on if they can keep up with the Rockets should they unleash a 3 point barrage.

It’s really hard to predict an outcome. If you said the Lakers won by 5 or lost by 20 I’d believe you either way.

The Lakers play the Rockets at 7:30 PST on Spectrum Sportsnet and ESPN.

Author: Kendrew

The Filipino guy

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