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Game Day: Houston Rockets Host Mamba Retirement Tour

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Game Day: Los Angeles Lakers versus Houston Rockets

Tonight features the first of four games versus the Los Angles Lakers and Kobe Bryant this season. While the Mamba will be returning for his final appearance in April (the 10th) at the Toyota Center when a player reaches their later years there is no guarantee he’ll remain healthy for the season. Hopefully he will since it’s about the only thing for Lakers fans to look forward to other than finishing in the bottom 3 of the Association to guarantee their lottery pick.

And while it appears the Lakers brain trust has Byron Scott playing to lose the one team Kobe might not be satisfied doing so against could be Dwight Howard’s Rockets!

The Details

Venue:   Toyota Center, Houston Texas

Game Time: 8:00 PM EST – 7:00 PM CT

TV: ROOT in Houston, TWC SN / TWC D in L.A.  or NBA League Pass

Radio: 790 AM in Houston and 710 AM ESPN / 1330 A in LA

Recent History:

January 25: HOU 99-87 LAL

November 19: LAL 98-92 HOU

October 28: HOU 108 -90 LAL

Walking Wounded:

Lakers:

Rockets:

  • Trevor Ariza– back, hard fall Tuesday, listed as day to day
  • Sam Dekker – back surgery November 20 , will be out 3 months

Projected Starters:

D’Angelo Russell, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Roy Hibbert

Of note: Clarkson is listed as questionable and if still out Lou Williams would likely take his place in the starting line-up

Rockets: Patrick Beverley,James HardenTrevor ArizaClint Capela,Dwight Howard

The Key Match-up:

Normally I’d be pointing to the one bright spot on the Lakers which has been the play of Jordan Clarkson, but when Kobe Bryant comes to town on his retirement tour it’s likely he and James Harden will line-up across from each other several times in the game for old times sake. The other player to watch for is rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell who has been producing in  his past few efforts and is getting a bit more run with Clarkson’s ankle injury.

Or course whenever the Black Mamba and Superman are on the same floor it has potential for a side story, so let’s keep our eyes open to see whether these two guys can finally bury the hatchet.

While the Lakers will focus on their youth of Russell and Randle jumping out to an early lead would allow the Rockets a great opportunity for  McDaniels and to give Motiejunas some run with the later looking to get some rust off.

 

Key Reserves:

Lakers: Lou Williams,Brandon Bass, Metta World Peace

Rockets: Marcus Thornton, Corey BrewerTy Lawson, Jason Terry, K.J. McDaniels

Comparison:

Keys To Winning:

Don’t Play Down to Competition: It’s important the Rockets start to make teams play to their strengths instead of playing down to their competition. With the need to improve specifically on the defensive end of the floor it’s important the Rockets start to develop consistent habits and improve upon their early poor performances (especially defensively).

Shut Down Lakers Early: When you’re playing an inferior team the last thing you want to do is let them feel confident or give them any early hope.

Continue to Build Upon Improved Offense BUT Use this Game to Focus on Defense: Sure the Rockets have been scoring at a major clip but then look at who they’ve been playing. I hate to beat a dead horse, but the major issue is the need for Houston to get back to the defensive principles that won them games last season and ha them sitting atop the West.

Prediction:

Every time I see the odds makers rating the Rockets as double digit favorites I get nervous because they haven’t been the darlings of the spread this season. So, when I saw the Rockets were 11.5 favorites with an over/under of 209.5 I winced a little.

More from Space City Scoop

Surely, Kobe won’t have a throw back effort saved up just to rub some salt into Howard’s wounds right?

Let’s look for Harden and Howard to both make a point of closing this one out early so the bench can get some run and the starters can get some rest.
Let’s call it Rockets by 7 (I don’t think the Rockets have covered the spread when favorited this season, so let’s stick with the trend).

For more exciting news and stories on the Los Angles Lakers visit our affiliate Fansided siteLake Show Life  Plus check our our Preseason Team Preview of the Lakers :

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

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