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Lakers vs. Rockets Game Preview: Lakers go to Houston without their rocket fuel

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Can the Lakers slow down the rocket that is James Harden?

NBA: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers look to avoid their longest losing streak of the season when they visit the Houston Rockets, but it won’t be any easier as D’Angelo Russell is not expected to return just yet. The Rockets are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA, while the Lakers are one of the worst defensive teams.

The Lakers opened their season with a down-to-the-wire win over Houston, but injuries have depleted their rocket fuel. What would have been an exciting rematch between two uptempo teams now looks like an incredibly tough uphill battle for the young Lakers.

James Harden has been magnificent for Houston, putting up a career-high PER of 28.6. The pairing of the Wizard of Guards Mike D’Antoni and Harden has been perfect enough to make the finest wine sommelier blush. How the Lakers try to slow him down will be key in how the matchup goes.

Harden is averaging 28.7 points and an astounding 11.6 assists per game, clearly the heart, soul, liver and kidneys of Houston’s offense.

Head coach Luke Walton went with an obscure lineup in an attempt to disrupt the Utah Jazz’s offense but was unable to find any success with it on the court. What he does going forward remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting exercise watching what kind of adjustments he makes with the personnel available.

Walton alluded to breaking up a bench rotation that’s been beating up on opposing reserves, so Wednesday might be the start of that. Enjoy the game!

Time: 5 p.m. PT

TV: Spectrum SportsNet