Preview: Lakers look to win season series against Rockets

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets
Jan 18, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) looks on as forward Kyle Kuzma (0) and center JaVale McGee (7) celebrate after a play during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers (51-16) and Houston Rockets (42-25) may not be a rivalry exactly, but the feel of their games has all of the makings. The Rockets were the most recent winner in a 121-111 February victory against the Lakers in Staples Center. Without Anthony Davis, Los Angeles notched on victory on the Rockets’ home court in January, 124-115.

A Matchup Without Stars

This matchup will continue to push forward with stars missing as both LeBron James and Russell Westbrook will sit. The Athletics’ Bill Oram reported that James is nursing groin soreness. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon spoke to a source that advised that there’s anticipation that Westbrook will sit with a right quad contusion. Both injuries appear to be a precaution but will be closely monitored as play continues in seeding.

Cold Summer

Unfortunately, the Lakers are the worst shooting team in the Orlando NBA bubble from three-point range. Just how bad is it? They are much further below the league average of 36 percent, finishing last night’s loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 23 percent for seeding games. Against a dynamic offensive bunch like the Rockets, a continued cold streak could see this one become another slogging to the finish line.

Future Implications

The Lakers and Rockets could very well be a second round or Western Conference finals preview. Both squads are looking to regain their form before the restart to roll into the playoffs with momentum. The goal for both teams will be health and restoration. For the Lakers, it’s a tremendous opportunity for their role players to find some rhythm.

Tonight’s game is scheduled for 9PM PST/6PM EST on TNT.

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