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Lakers vs. Rockets: Start time, TV schedule and game preview

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It’s the final Lakers game of 2017, folks!

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are ringing in the New Year with a back-to-back set of games on the road, beginning with a trip to Houston to face James Harden and the Rockets. The Lakers have won only one of their last nine games, and that lone win just so happens to have come in Houston just over a week ago.

The Lakers will be without Lonzo Ball as they transition into a new year, with the rookie guard ruled out before the team made the trip. That’s been problematic for the Lakers on both sides of the ball, but as we saw when they last played the Rockets in Houston, anything is possible.

Kyle Kuzma blasted off into the atmosphere for a career-high 38 points when they last met, and anything close to resembling that sort of productivity would be huge for the Lakers. Kuzma has since hit what looks like a bit of a rookie wall, but who doesn’t have a few off nights in a row during the 82-game season?

Clint Capela, who was out during the previous game, is expected to be back in the Rockets lineup after missing the last two games with a right orbital fracture.

Houston has been in a strange funk since losing to the Lakers, currently on a five-game losing streak since letting Kuzma go off into another dimension. That was preceded by a 14-game winning streak, making the sudden downward trend from the Rockets a strange sight to see. Perhaps all they need is a chance to redeem themselves against the Lakers before getting back on track.

Either way, the schedule Gods were kind enough to make this one an early tip-off for those of us who have plans New Year’s Eve, so enjoy the last Lakers game of 2017 before stepping into 2018.

Time: 4 p.m. PT

TV: Spectrum SportsNet