The Los Angeles Lakers return home and host the Houston Rockets on Sunday night, looking to avenge their blowout loss on the road last week.
As the Lakers found out in Houston, the Rockets are not a team they can take lightly anymore as they are one of the surprise teams in the NBA this season. They beat the Lakers from start to finish last week, earning a 129-94 victory.
Anthony Davis did not play for the Lakers in that game, however, so this should be a better chance for the Lakers to pick up a win. Davis has been dealing with a hip issue and although he is clearly not playing at 100% health, the impact he makes nightly on the defensive end of the floor cannot be matched.
LeBron James is also good to go for the Lakers despite dealing with his own calf contusion. The issue did not seem to affect him in the Lakers’ win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night as he turned in his best game of the season with 35 points, five rebounds, nine assists and two steals on 13-of-22 shooting.
James, of course, has built a bit of a rivalry with Rockets wing Dillon Brooks so this should be another tough battle between the two. Even though Brooks is known as one of the better defenders in the NBA, LeBron has gotten the better of him in most matchups, including the playoffs last year when the former was on the Memphis Grizzlies.
Perhaps the key to the game for L.A. is slowing down Rockets big man Alperen Sengun, which has been a struggle in past meetings. In eight career games against the Lakers, Sengun has averaged 16.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 59.4% from the field. Davis missed a majority of those games though, so hopefully he can help slow down the young rising star.
As has been the case all season so far, getting off to a quick start should be a key for the Lakers in this one. The Rockets jumped on them in the first quarter in the first matchup, leading to a wire-to-wire victory with the Lakers being unable to recover.
Darvin Ham has changed his starting lineup since that matchup with the insertion of Cam Reddish for Austin Reaves, and so far it has been a good move for L.A.
Los Angeles Lakers (7-6) vs. Houston Rockets (6-4)
6:30 p.m. PT, Nov. 19, 2023
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Cam Reddish
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Christian Wood, Jaxson Hayes, Max Christie
Projected Rockets Starting Lineup:
PG: Fred VanVleet
SG: Jalen Green
SF: Dillon Brooks
PF: Jabari Smith Jr.
C: Alperen Sengun
Key Reserves: Jae’Sean Tate, Tari Eason, Aaron Holiday, Jeff Green, Jock Landale
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