Game Preview: Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets 12/04/12

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Lakers kick off their three game road trip, and away heavy December, with a rematch against the Houston Rockets. Time to regroup.

Casting Call

Los Angeles Lakers (8-9, 100.6 ppg, 96.9 ppg allowed)

Houston Rockets (8-8, 103.5 ppg, 102.4 ppg allowed)

Showtime

5:00 pm PST

Plot

The Los Angeles Lakers step back into the ring after being sent over the top rope by the Orlando Magic, setting off a three game road trip beginning in Houston against the Rockets, and ending Friday in Oklahoma City. The Magic delivered a blow to the Lakers that everyone felt, but death blow it was not. A swift punch to the gut may have knocked the wind out of the Lakers, but you take your bumps and bruises and move on.

The aftermath of the loss has been just as ugly as the game itself was, though. Dwight Howard was off getting quoted that he'd go wherever he had to in order to reach his ultimate goal of being an NBA champion, Steve Nash is already scratched off for the entire road trip and doesn't sound overly optimistic about returning, Steve Blake will be missing somewhere in the ball park of two months as he undergoes surgery to repair a torn muscle in his abdomen, Pau Gasol needs to put on his big boy pants per Kobe Bryant, and should this Lakers team continue to play at the embarrassing level they have been? Kobe is ready to kick all of their asses. Its' been a busy few days for both fans and bloggers alike. You know, this could all have been so much easier if they could find a way to do this crazy thing called winning more often.

So, off to Houston they go, hopefully with a sufficient supply of big boy pants to spread around on this three game field trip. The two teams met when the D'Antoni era was just coming to fruition and the Lakers walked away victorious in the 119-108 victory. Every Lakers starter (yes, even Darius Morris) was in double figures, led by Dwight Howard with 28 and Kobe Bryant with a brilliant triple double: 22 points, 11 assists, 11 rebounds. For the Rockets, they scored 108 points and still lost by double digits, which is disconcerting. James Harden had 20 and Chandler Parsons had 24 (4-5 from deep, go figure).

Round two, fight.

It wasn't long ago that the Lakers faced the Indiana Pacers (you remember, right?), which may be the most anti-Houston Rockets team in the league. In the Pacers, the Lakers were matched up against one of the best defenses in the league, but also one of the worst offenses. Flip it around and you have the Houston Rockets. They are third in the league in points per game, and 29th in points per game allowed. How are the Rockets piling in the points? Well, they're ranked 1st in the league in P&R ball handler scoring per MySynergy Sports. With a team that has been atrocious in defending the pick and roll, this is all sorts of bad news. In their first meeting Jeremy Lin didn't light up the score board but he was still able to find 10 assists without much trouble simply because of pick and roll basketball and dribble drives. With two great pick and roll initiators in Harden and Lin, and Chandler Parsons as the floor spreader (he's shooting 42% from deep on the season), they have the recipe to knock the Lakers defense over the head. The Orlando Magic kept the Lakers off balance, and when it was all said and done, rattled in 40 points in the 4th quarter and looked damn near unstoppable in doing so. The Rockets will try to do the same, keeping the Lakers moving on defense and wearing down those old knees. But the Rockets fatal weakness? Being 29th in the league in defending the roll man in pick and rolls. Hey, I think the Lakers might have the best pick and roll finisher in the league. Let's see high screens from Dwight, Mike D'Antoni. Over, and over, and over.

With Staples Center being only a small pit stop through the first three weeks of December, the Lakers will be put to the test on the road. Consistent inconsistency, a fine two word summary of the 2012-2013 Lakers thus far. The only words of advice to share? Just hang on. It's all we can do, and there's still plenty of basketball to be played.

On This Soundtrack

Deana Carter - On The Road Again

Woah, all I want is on the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin' music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin' music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world be runnin' our way

And our way is on the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin' music for my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again

And on the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world be runnin' our way

And our way is on the road again
I can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin' music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again

I can't wait to get on the road again
I can't wait to get on the road

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @BallReasons

- Check out The Dream Shake as they prepare to try and split the first two games against the Lakers.

- Buy Los Angeles Lakers Tickets click here

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