The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had much success lately in terms of winning basketball games, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still capable of posing a threat on any given night. It’s that notion that the Houston Rockets are keeping in mind to prevent any letdown after their big win over the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers this past Sunday.
At the beginning of the season, the Lakers weren’t in the dire straits that they currently find themselves in. They opened up the year by dispatching the Rockets 120-114, which was part of an early surge that saw them playing .500 basketball through the end of November. The wheels fell off when the calendar flipped to December, but the Rockets are using that early loss as motivation for when the two teams meet on Wednesday night. Power forward Ryan Anderson explained the team’s mindset towards the Lakers to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
“It’s still hard to get a win in the NBA. Any team can beat any team. We don’t want to let up. We want to continue to play at a high level and just get better and better toward the playoffs. Obviously, the first game of the season when we played the Lakers was not our highlight moment, so they can beat us.”
From the Lakers perspective, the matchup with the Rockets provides another opportunity to test their young talent against one of the best teams in the league. Veteran center Timofey Mozgov appears to be shut down for the season, which means that there should be plenty of minutes for talented rookie Ivica Zubac.
Wednesday night’s game will also mark the first time that the Lakers take the floor against Lou Williams this season. Williams had been the team’s leading scorer but was sent to Houston just before the trade deadline.