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Lakers vs. Rockets Preview: Unhappy holidays as Dwight Howard comes to town

Lakers fans get a chance to boo the Rockets and Dwight Howard out of Staples Center. We'll see if the purple and gold deliver a win.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers seemed to put it all together against the Milwaukee Bucks and now have a chance at redeeming their loss from last Saturday. Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets travel to Los Angeles, facing off against the purple and gold for the second time in three games.

Kobe Bryant's been very good in recent games, looking fresh in the first quarter as he drains buckets before falling back to facilitate as the game progresses. His play has taken a turn for the better, as explained here by Harrison Faigen, especially as he elects to pass and pick his spots rather than look to score every time he touches the ball.

Kobe's not the only Laker stepping up his game in the second quarter of the season. D'Angelo Russell's career looks like it's starting to churn forward, with his projected talent becoming the Lakers' reality one game at a time. He's averaging 19.5 points, five assists, 2.8 rebounds and two steals while shooting 37.5 percent from deep over the last four games. Maintaining that level of play through the end of the year might be the only Christmas present Lakers fans want or need.

A poster dunk on Dwight Howard might be a great stocking stuffer to go with it, though, and Kobe's been in Larry Nance, Jr.'s ear about dropping the thunder on the big man. Should that happen, Staples Center may erupt right then and there. Reports have also surfaced that Howard's unhappy with being "second fiddle" to James Harden, just in time for the holidays. These types of rumors should always be taken with dumpster trucks full of salt, but it's something to keep an eye on as the season rolls onward.

Last time around the Rockets pushed the pace, finished second-chance opportunities and ripped up the nets from deep. We'll see if the Lakers can make adjustments to enjoy their first winning "streak" of the season. Enjoy the (nationally televised) game!

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT


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