3 Things the Houston Rockets must do to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets P.J. Tucker (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Cut Down on Small-ball Lineups

As we’ve mentioned, Anthony Davis is still questionable for the primetime matchup with Houston. The Lakers are taking a cautious approach with the 26-year-old as they hope to prepare for the playoffs. Either way, Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee are still a handful on the glass and in the post. The Rockets struggled with defensive rebounds last season, but have been much better at that this season.

Still, recent trends suggest Houston needs to do a better job on the glass, as they were outrebounded by seven in their loss to the Trail Blazers. On the other side of things, the Lakers are the best in the league at limiting defensive rebounds. In a game where there is little margin for error, the Rockets will need to have size on the court to be able to limit chances for the Lakers and get extra opportunities on their side of the court.

As Athletic insider Kelly Iko tweeted on Friday, Coach D’Antoni, fortunately, seems to be aware of the need for size against L.A.

To combat the Lakers’ size, Mike D’Antoni says he plans to play two bigs for most of the game.

— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) January 17, 2020

Time will tell what this means, but considering the roster at this point, it should mean Isaiah Hartenstein gets some well-deserved playing time. After logging 17 points and 15 rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 11, Isaiah has only seen the floor for a total of five minutes, which seems like an odd choice.

Next: No. 2