Houston Rockets Game Day: Just Take Care of Business

By Tamberlyn Richardson

Houston Rockets Game Day:

Entering the day Rocket fans can thank the luck of timing as they play the Lakers which will likely result in Dwight Howard resting regardless of whether his ankle is good to go or not.

Story Lines:

  • Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff which will be reassessed Monday to determine if it will require surgery or how he intends to deal with it.
  • Interesting since coming over to Houston from Los Angeles Howard has played his old team six times (today will be the 7th time they’ve met) yet Bryant and Howard have only faced each other once of those 7 games.

Team Rank:

Houston: enter the day in 5th place in the west and 2nd in Southwest Division

Lakers: Last in Pacific Division

Offense: Houston: 14th (103.6 points per 100 possessions) – Lakers: 19th (101.9 points per 100 possessions)

Defense: Houston: 5th (allowing 99.8 points per 100 possessions) – Lakers: 29th (allowing 108.4 points per 100 possessions)

Net: Houston: 8th with a positive point differential of +3.8 – Lakers 27th with a negative point differential of -6.6

Pace: Houston: 5th with a pace of 98.55 possessions over 48 minutes – Lakers: 9th with a pace of 97.19 possessions over 48 minutes

Points Per Game: Houston: 7th  –  Lakers: 19th

Rebounds Per Game: Houston: 14th – Lakers: 15h

Assists Per Game:  Houston: 17th – Lakers: 23rd

Opposition Points Per game: Houston: 15th –  Lakers: 29th

Stats via nba.com


  • The Lakers have the tenth best bench in the Association with a positive  +3.4 point differential
  • Lakers’ bench ranks seventh in scoring with 38.3 points per game

Full bench stats at hoopsstats.com

Key Match-Up:

It’s all about the SWAG as James Harden will look to get yet another 30 point scoring night to add to his league lead while Houston will look to lock down Nick Young and his young team mates.

Walking Wounded:


  • Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder and is likely gone for the season
  • Julius Randle broke his leg in the first game of the season and is out for year
  • Steve Nash hampered by nerve issues and back is also out for season


  • Dwight Howard is listed as day to day, but given this is the Lakers why push it
  • Terrence Jones remains out with nerve damage to his foot

Keys To Winning:

  • Pace: The Lakers rank in the top ten of pace setters, so like the game versus Phoenix the best bet will be for the Rockets to control pace and not get into a shooting match
  • Defense, especially of the three: The Lakers have no conscience and will just hoist the ball.
  • Low turnovers: take care of the rock
  • Don’t take Lakers for granted: even without Bryant this team is young and capable and if allowed to stay in games can get hot. Hold them down early and don’t let them up for air.

The Pick:

The odds makers have Houston favored by 8.5 points. I’m inclined to think this could be a blow out of greater than 10 to 15 points.