Fixture: Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers
Date & Time: Saturday, 18th January 2020 (8:30 pm ET)
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
The Rockets and Lakers probably will represent three of the five starters on the Western’s Conference’s All-Star team. The Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the top two vote-getters in the frontcourt and the Rocket’s James Harden trails only Luka Doncic in the backcourt votes.
The Rockets have lost three of their last four games and looked particularly lethargic in 117-107 loss to Blazers. James Harden hasn’t looked good at all this week. This might just be a mid-season lull or something like heavy wear down at 30-years old due to carrying so much load night in and night out.
Russell Westbrook continues to sit out back to backs, he has been good, the last two games but everyone else just haven’t been good enough.
Mike D’Antoni continues to make odd rotation decisions. The rotations are not long enough, the bench isn’t deep enough. The Rockets have slipped to the fifth spot in West.
The Lakers continue to sit at the top of West even after their unexpected loss to Magic at home. The Lakers have won nine games in a row before the loss and all of those games were decided by more than 7 points.
LeBron had a bad night with only 19 points but still had career-high 19 assists to support the team. Anthony Davis has been out 4 games and his absence is significant for the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma gave impressive production for two games as AD went down but has been abysmal the last few games. The role players haven’t played good enough. The Lakers have yet to resolve their defensive woes.
With both teams coming off losses, they would be eager to get a win. The Rockets have a history of playing to their competition and Lakers is as good as they get. The game will heavily centre around Lebron and Harden as they duel it out for the first time since 2018 at the Toyota Center.
Injury updates and team news
Houston Rockets –
Injuries: Austin Rivers (Right thumb sprain) – out, Nene (Hip) – out, Gerald Green (Foot) – out
Expected starting line-up: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, PJ Tucker, Clint Capela, Ben McLemore
Los Angeles Lakers-
Injuries: Alex Caruso (Concussion Protocol) – Probable, Rajon Rondo (Finger) – Questionable, Anthony Davis (Back) – Questionable
Expected starting line-up: LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee, Danny Green, Avery Bradley
The Lakers are the best team in the West and the Rockets are on a downhill this January. The X-factor LeBron James should have enough to put his team over the top this Saturday