Lakers Vs. Rockets Preview: Road Trip Continues As L.A. Looks For Third Straight Win
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers continue their five-game road trip with a Sunday matchup against the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers are coming off a key victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Friday. A win on Sunday gives them their second 3-game winning streak in the last two weeks. The Rockets just snapped a seven-game losing streak when they defeated the Detroit Pistons two days ago.

There are major standing implications riding on Sunday’s game. The Lakers are currently the No. 8 seed after the New Orleans Pelicans won on Saturday. If the Golden State Warriors lose and the Lakers win, they can move to one game back of the No. 5 and 6 seed. A Lakers win will give them their 40th of the season and also have them tied with the Pelicans for the No. 7 seed. The Lakers own the tiebreaker over the Pelicans.

As the season winds down and wins carry extra weight, the Lakers are fortunate to have a fairly healthy team. Mo Bamba is the only scratch as he continues to be out with a left high ankle sprain. He is set to be reevaluated later this week, but there is no set timetable for his return.

Anthony Davis will play after suffering an injury scare against the Timberwolves. His return is key to defending Rockets center Alpheren Sengun, who torched the Lakers with 33 points earlier this year. This will also be Davis’ first time playing against Houston this season.

Houston’s injury report is similar as only forward Jae’Sean Tate is out with a knee injury. He had 13 points and four rebounds and assists a piece in his previous matchup against the Lakers.

The Rockets have been in full tank mode since November, but it doesn’t mean the Lakers should take them lightly — all they need to do is remember the last time they played Houston two and a half weeks ago.

The Lakers lost a catastrophic game with Anthony Davis and LeBron James both sidelined. Houston dominated the glass, outrebounding the Lakers by 15 with Wenyen Gabriel as the only L.A. big man. The final score of 114-110 didn’t reflect a game where the Rockets were up 18 at one point.

But, this is a completely different Lakers team that’s riding into Houston. L.A. is 5-2 since that loss and full of positive momentum after defeating the Timberwolves. Davis has hit an extra gear too, dropping at least 30 points in three of the last four games. With the Rockets’ lack of size, he and the Lakers as a whole will be able to dominate the paint.

Houston makes up for its small roster with extra effort and two explosive guards — Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. Both dropped 30 points in the Rockets’ previous game and at least 20 in one of the two matchups against the Lakers this season. Sengun is the heartbeat of the Rockets’ offense, but Green and Porter Jr. are just as capable.

The Lakers though are on a tear defensively with the third-best defensive efficiency since March 1.

Wins this time of year mean extra and a Lakers win pushes them closer to their eventual goal of avoiding the play-in.

Los Angeles Lakers (39-38) vs. Houston Rockets (19-59)

4:00 p.m. PT, April 2, 2023
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: LeBron James
PF: Jarred Vanderbilt
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Dennis Schroder, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Malik Beasley, Wenyen Gabriel

Projected Rockets Starting Lineup:

PG: Kevin Porter Jr.
SG: Jalen Green
SF: Kenyon Martin Jr.
PF: Jabari Smith Jr.
C: Alpheren Sengun

Key Reserves: Tari Eason, Josh Christopher, Usman Garuba

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Watchdog Group Investigating Allegations L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Covered Up Leaked Photos of Kobe Bryant’s Death

Even amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has crippled numerous people across the globe, it is…

Kobe Bryant, Robert Upshaw, Byron Scott After Lakers Vs. Raptors (VIDEOS)

The Los Angeles Lakers lost their third preseason game against the Toronto…

Dwight Howard Opens Up About Biggest Learning Lessons During First Two Stints With Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have to be relieved that Dwight Howard agreed to come back for a third stint after spending last season…

Lakers’ LeBron James: Whoever Came Up With Play-In Tournament ‘Needs To Be Fired’

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is just two games into his return from a high ankle sprain and while he hasn’t played particularly…