The Los Angeles Lakers are back on the road, beginning with the first of two consecutive matchups against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. The teams will meet again Tuesday, then the Lakers will move on to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Lakers are looking to keep their four-game road winning streak going following a brief home stint that saw them go 1-1 at Staples Center. Meanwhile, the Rockets are coming off their biggest win of the 2020-21 NBA season after defeating the Orlando Magic 132-90 at home.
Houston is led by their stellar backcourt duo of James Harden and John Wall, but one of the biggest surprise this season has been the emergence of Christian Wood. He is averaging 23.3 points along with a team-high 10.8 rebounds per game.
Wood made it clear after the win against the Magic that he is looking forward to seeing Anthony Davis and the Lakers. Whether Davis will take the court remains to be seen. He didn’t play Friday because of a strained right adductor, and was listed as questionable on the injury report.
The Rockets will be without Brodric Thomas and Danuel House due to respective ankle and back injuries. Chris Clemons was lost for the season three weeks ago with a torn Achilles.
Given L.A.’s status as the defending NBA champions, they will be getting every team’s best shot with the target on their back. Fortunately, the duo of LeBron James and Davis have picked up where they left off in the bubble averaging a combined 47 points, 17.5 rebounds and 11.3 assist per game.
In addition to hoping Davis returns, the Lakers expect Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to be back in the lineup after missing the past four games.
If Davis is unable to play, L.A. will need another big game from Montrezl Harrell after he scored 17 points and pulled in a team-high 14 rebounds in 29 minutes against the Chicago Bulls.
The Lakers have benefitted from a favorable early-season schedule and this has resulted in some complacency thus far. Consecutive matchups versus a talented Rockets team should help force them to kick their play up a notch.
Lakers (7-3) vs. Rockets (3-4)
4:00 p.m. PT, Jan. 10, 2021
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schroder
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezl Harrell, Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris
Projected Rockets starting lineup:
PG: John Wall
SG: James Harden
SF: David Nwaba
PF: PJ Tucker
C: Christian Wood
Key Reserves: Eric Gordon, DeMarcus Cousins, Sterling Brown, Ben McLemore
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