The Los Angeles Lakers let a big opportunity slip away from them against the Denver Nuggets Saturday night. Their punishment? They have to go 48 minutes with James Harden and the Western Conference-leading Houston Rockets in the second half of their weekend back-to-back.
The Lakers walked off of the court in Denver looking as deflated as a team as they’ve looked all season. The questionable whistles all night, the sloppy turnovers and the horrific offense down the stretch left the Lakers frustrated.
How will they respond after playing in the high altitude of Denver Saturday night? Houston has a new star to pair with Harden in Chris Paul, which is about as tough of a turnaround as it gets for Lonzo Ball. He’s going to be challenged every possession as a defender, and Chris Paul is going to be a nightmare matchup when Ball has the ball.
The Rockets have the second-best offense in the NBA, averaging 112.4 point per 100 possessions. Lo’ and behold, the Mike D’Antoni coached team is also tied for fifth in defensive rating, holding teams to 101.6 points per 100 possessions. It’s probably a good sign for Houston that they’re tied with the Golden State Warriors in that category.
On paper, a rested Lakers team could use the tempo they play at to compete with Houston, especially with the Rockets jacking up an NBA-high 44.4 three-point attempts per game. The Lakers’ ability to switch on defense and play from the three-point line to the rim with multiples bigs on their roster is something they should use to their advantage.
Whether they have the gas in the tank to put up a fight after blowing out all of their tires in the fourth quarter against Denver Saturday night is the big question.
Enjoy the game!
Time: 6:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NBA TV