Lakers-Rockets Preview: Are we engaged yet?

Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers host the Houston Rockets as the first part of the rare home and home back-to-back.  Previously thought to be extinct, the home and home back-to-back is making a stunning come back due to the NBA's prolific back-to-back mating program.

Tonight's game will provide some barometer for just how much the crushing defeat to the Boston Celtics on Sunday actually crushed the team.  If you see high effort and strong focus, then maybe that game will be the kick in the pants the Lakers so sorely required.  If we see more of the same, there may not be much hope for the rest of the regular season.

The Rockets enter tonight's game five games under .500.  During/after the heart-breaking news that Yao would miss the rest of the season with injury again, and might possibly never return, the Rockets typically responded by winning 6 of 7 games, restoring some hope in what was looking like a lost season.  Sadly, they went on to lose 7 of 8 after that, and have been in a holding pattern every since.  They've lost 4 of 6, but none of those results were unexpected when considering the opponent and venue.  Going by that theory, tonight should be a comfortable victory for the Lakers, for what that's worth.

The Rockets are a strong offensive team.  They seem to be ranked 5th in the league in almost everything on that side of the ball.  They play fast, score at a high clip, shoot well, and don't give up the rock.  The Lakers (surprisingly) do all of those things as well, sans the shooting particularly well.  The Rockets are not a strong defensive team, and their injuries have left them thin up front, but Chuck Hayes has caused the Laker bigs problems defensively in the past, and outside of Lamar Odom, none of those bigs is particularly clicking right now anyways.

Sorry for the short and sweet snapshot folks, but that's about all I have left about the team currently.  Enjoy the game.

 

                  Rockets                  

                  Lakers                  

 

      Stat      

League Rank

      Stat      

League Rank

Record.................................

22.27

17

33-15

5

Net Points Per Game............

+0.2

17

+6.8

4

Pace.....................................

94.6

5

91.9

17

Offensive Rating...................

110.1

5

112.5

1

Turnover Rate (Off.)..........

12.8%

3

12.7%

2

FTA/FGA (Off.)..................

0.25

5

0.23

13

Free-Throw %...................

79.0%

4

78.5%

7

3PT FGA/FGA (Off.)...........

0.26

8

0.23

14

3PT% (Off.).......................

36.3%

12

36.6%

11

Effective FG% (Off.)...........

50.1%

12

51.2%

10

True Shooting% (Off.).......

55.0%

12

55.7%

8

Off Rebounding Rate.........

26.7%

13

29.7%

5

Defensive Rating....................

109.9

24

105.1

10

Turnover Rate (Def.)...........

12.5%

26

12.9%

24

FTA/FGA (Def.)...................

0.23

15

0.19

2

3PT FGA/FGA (Def.)...........

0.19

1

0.25

24

3PT% (Def.)........................

37.1%

10

34.4%

23

Effective FG% (Def.)...........

50.4%

19

48.4

8

True Shooting% (Def.)........

54.6%

18

51.7%

3

Def Rebounding Rate.........

73.1%

21

72.6%

21

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