Lakers Versus Rockets Preview
If the Utah Jazz manage to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies, then the Houston Rockets-Los Angeles Lakers game will be the highest stakes game that the Lakers have played all season.
Los Angeles is on a four game winning streak, however Kobe Bryant is out for the rest of the year with his well documented injury and Steve Nash will also be side lined for this game. That puts more weight on the shoulders of Dwight Howard.”This is a great opportunity for myself and this team to show who we are,” said Howard. “We’ve got to give it everything we’ve got. We’re going to fight to the end and do our best. Despite whatever has happened this season, we’ve got a chance to win this next game, go into the playoffs and make history…With Kobe out, I understand that I have to do more and be more for this team. This is a great opportunity for me, and I believe I can do it.”
Howard has averaged 23.6 points over the last five games. He was also impressive in the Lakers last game. The game was a huge win against the San Antonio Spurs.
In that game Howard put up 26 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Steve Blake also stepped up to help fill the gap left by the injured Bryant scoring a season high 23 points. That was good enough to bet the Spurs at home 91-86. If the Lakers get into the playoffs the Spurs could be the team they will face in the first round.
The last time the Lakers and the Rockets collided the Rockets came out on top 125-112. However, both Pau Gasol and Howard were out with injuries during that game. Gasol had averaged nearly 24 points a game before having a rough day against the Spurs.
James Harden is the biggest offensive threat on the Rockets. He struggled in a recent loss to the Suns, but in his last encounter with the Lakers he scored over 30 points. Jeremy Lin has also stepped up when it matters. He has averaged 18 point in the month of April becoming the offensive threat that the Rockets always expected him to be.
“I think that has been one of our problems all season, focus,” Lin said. “Every game means so much. We are talking about playoff seeding. We are talking about matchups and things that are more important than anything we played for all season.”
Despite a rough game against the Pacific Division’s last place team, the Rockets have won four of their five meetings with the Lakers.
The Lakers are favored according to most sportsbooks with a point spread of -3. The game starts at 10:30 p.m. ET.