Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers

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After a wild win over the Boston Celtics, the Rockets sit at 14-7, looking to get revenge on the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets are led in both scoring and assists by James Harden (28.7 points and 11.6 assists per game), and in rebounding by Clint Capela, who pulls in 8.4 rebounds a game. The Rockets now rank third in offensive rating, 26th in defensive rating, and 7th in net rating.

The Lakers surprised many to start the season, going 7-5 in their first twelve games, but have since started to regress to where everyone thought they would be, going 3-8 in their last 11. The Lakers, who are now 10-13, are led in scoring by Lou Williams (18.4 points per game), in assists by D'Angelo Russell (4.8 assists per game), and in rebounds by Julius Randle (8.8 assists per game). The Lakers rank 15th in offensive rating, 28th in defensive rating, and 26th in net rating.

Starting Lineups

After a brief scare, with Eric Gordon twisting his ankle at the end of the game against Boston, the Rockets appear to still be healthy. The Rockets are likely to continue to start with James Harden at point guard, Patrick Beverley at shooting guard, Trevor Ariza at small forward, Ryan Anderson at power forward, and Clint Capela at center, with Eric Gordon getting starter’s minutes.

The Lakers have been hit with the injury bug early this season, with starters D'Angelo Russell (knee) and Nick Young (calf) expected to miss Wednesday's game. In their last game, the Lakers went with a strange starting lineup of Brandon Ingram, Metta World Peace, Luol Deng, Julius Randle, and Timofey Mozgov, outside of Mozgov at center and Randle at power forward, I have no idea who is playing what in that lineup. The Lakers didn't play this strange lineup too much however, with Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson playing 38 and 34 minutes in the last game, respectively.

Three Things to Watch

  • All the points – This game features a top three offense, and two of the bottom 5 defenses in the NBA, so much like the first game, it could be a shootout. Watch to see if the Rockets are able to take advantage of the Lakers' poor defense, while not giving it right back on the other end.

  • Revenge. – After filling fans full of excitement, the Rockets tripped coming out of the gates, dropping their first game to these very Lakers. Watch to see if the Rockets are able to get their revenge and finish the night with a win.

  • Rockets on a streak – The Rockets are now 8-2 over their last ten games, and are on pace to win about 54 games. Watch to see if the Rockets can keep their great play going and continue to win at a pace that few thought they could going into the season.

Prediction and Tip-Off

I don't think we will see a repeat of the first game of the year. The Rockets are playing great basketball and the Lakers are beat up and on a bit of a backslide. I predict a big Rockets win to move up to 15-7 on the season.

Tip-off will be at 7:00 P.M. Central Time at in Houston on Wednesday, December 7th. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports, with the radio broadcast on Sports Talk 790-AM.

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