The Los Angeles Lakers hit the second half of a back-to-back with a visit to the Houston Rockets, hopefully riding a newfound level of confidence from D'Angelo Russell. The Lakers' No. 2 pick has put up 43 field-goal attempts in the last two games, asserting himself like never before. It's been music to Lakers fans ears as Russell's set new career-highs in scoring in consecutive games.
Jordan Clarkson may, or may not. play depending on his ankle. It's more likely than not he'll miss another game to rest his ankle sprain, giving him time off until Tuesday when the Lakers return home to face the Milwaukee Bucks. It's been a long eight-game journey through the Kobe Bryant farewell tour, and a game against the struggling 11-12 Rockets. Dwight Howard and James Harden could wreak havoc against the Lakers' defense, even if Houston isn't off to the kind of start many anticipated. They've still won four of their last five, while the Lakers are on a five-game losing streak.
The Lakers have given D'Angelo the keys to finish driving the team bus through the road trip, it seems, and that's been an interesting experience. Kobe Bryant's taken a step back in field-goal attempts (25 in the last two games), and the team's offense looks markedly different beyond shot distribution. They Lakers seem to be moving into pick-and-roll sets much earlier in the shot clock, giving Russell and chance to create for himself or others.
For a very good read on his growing confidence and game, Harrison Faigen laid it out with quotes and films right over here. Enjoy the game, which should be an interesting one in Houston.
Time: 5 p.m. PT