After falling to the Portland Trail Blazers on the road in Thursday’s regular season opener, the Los Angeles Lakers return to Staples Center for a showdown with the Houston Rockets.
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The Lakers posted a 1-3 record against the Rockets last season, most recently facing off in the penultimate game of the 2017-18 NBA regular season. Their lone win saw Kyle Kuzma explode for 38 points to help the Lakers snap the Rockets’ 14-game winning streak despite 51 points from James Harden.
While Kuzma started that contest, he’s back to coming off the bench. So too is Josh Hart despite a strong showing in the season opener. In 20 minutes off the bench, he stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Hart will once again reprise that role on Saturday, as Lakers head coach Luke Walton opted to send out the same starting five against the Rockets.
LeBron James also enjoyed a solid performance against the Trail Blazers and looks to replicate that success in his Lakers home debut. In 37 minutes on the court, he tallied 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting while additionally accumulating 12 rebounds and six assists.
One key matchup to watch lies in the backcourt, with two defensive-savvy veteran point guards in Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo looking to get the best of one another.
The Lakers will also attempt to contain Harden, who fell one rebound short of a triple-double in the Rockets’ regular season opener loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Los Angeles Lakers (0-1) Vs. Houston Rockets (0-1)
7:30 P.M. P.T., Oct. 20, 2018
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: LeBron James
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Lance Stephenson
Projected Rockets Starting Lineup:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: James Harden
SF: James Ennis
PF: P.J. Tucker
C: Clint Capela
Key Reserves: Carmelo Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams Eric Gordon, Gerald Green