The Los Angeles Lakers made it past the deadline without a move and now their focus goes to the visiting Houston Rockets. Thursday marks the second meeting between the teams this season. In Houston, the Lakers came away with an impressive victory without Anthony Davis, 124-115. LeBron James filled up the stat sheet with 31 points and 12 assists. This time around, the all-star big man has returned and looks to duplicate their victorious success. The Rockets may be a bit short-handed after acquiring Robert Covington in a recent trade.
Bigger Is Better!
There’s not many teams in the league with the combination of power, size, and athleticism on their frontline like the Lakers. The Rockets offer the total opposite of weaponry. After dealing away center Clint Capela, they’ve fully embraced small-ball and appear to use a combination of PJ Tucker and Tyson Chandler at center. Chandler and Isaiah Hartenstein are the only seven footers on the roster. The Lakers have a chance to dominate on the boards and push tempo in transition.
Containing The Beard
It’s going to be a team task to slow down James Harden. In their last matchup, the Lakers did a great job of sending help and keeping him inefficient. Harden finished the game shooting 40 percent from the floor including 22 percent from the three-point line. If the Lakers wings can duplicate this performance, there’s a strong chance that they can come away with a victory.
Kuz Still In Tow
Kyle Kuzma was able to survive the trade deadline again. Last year, it was the Anthony Davis rumors and this season it was links to the Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks. Kuz will have to keep his energy and effort post-trade deadline and the playoffs. In the last three games, he’s averaging just under 10 rebounds per game (9.6).
Speaking of Kuzma, the Lakers bench will have to be one of the differences in tonight’s game. LeBron James had a big enough game where they did not need the production, but they still outscored the San Antonio Spurs bench 48-39 in their last win. Against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, the Lakers had four players in double-figures.
The Lakers enter tonight 17-6 at home and have won two straight. Their next game will be a visit to Chase Center against the Golden State Warriors.