So the Lakers have the Rockets on Sunday night. Going into this match-up, the Lakers have lost six of their last seven while Houston had their five-game win streak snapped by the Eastern Conference champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Saturday night, the Lakers were thrashed by the Utah Jazz right from the start. And that has been the problem for the Lakers against the Rockets so far this season. In their previous two match-ups, they lost by 29 and 20 after slow starts.
Funny enough, Kobe Bryant is averaging 23.5 points in those two games but we’re not sure if he’s going to play because of his Achilles problem. But one player who has been scoring well as of late is Lou Williams. He’s averaging 22.9 points per game in the month of January and the way he’s been drawing fouls has been, shall we say, James Harden-esque? Lou has been averaging 9.1 free throws per game this month.
If you’re hoping for a Lakers win, you hope that the guys in purple and gold catch the Rockets sleepwalking and that they keep a lead or stay within reach in the early going. But the Rockets seem to get up for the Lakers as evidenced by the two games they have played. In those two games, it was the frontcourt that has smashed the Lakers. Clint Capela and the ever-so-beloved Dwight Howard had double-doubles (not the In-N-Out kind) in both games and Donatas Montiejunas and Terrence Jones both had an impact in both contests off the bench. And I didn’t even mention James Harden, who will find a way to score 25 points whether it’s unlimited chucking or living in the foul line. The Lakers, just like most games, will have their hands full.
But really, we’re not going to be too disappointed if the Lakers lose. As it should be all along, it should be about developing the young guys (and about keeping that Top 3 lottery pick). We hope Julius Randle bounces back from the Utah game. We hope D’Angelo Russell continues to grow. We hope Tarik Black gets some more PT to see if he really is a quality back-up big man. We hope Jordan Clarkson can continue to be an excellent combo guard. Larry Nance is not going to play due to hurting his knee but, when he comes back, we hope that he can continue to expand his game aside from being a defensive stopper.
Just compete and try not to be embarrassed like the last two contests. And if the Lakers win, then it’s all gravy.
Where you can watch the Lakers play against your hero, Dwight Howard: 6:30 PM on Time Warner Cable Sports. Also listen at ESPN Radio Los Angeles 710AM.