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Lakers vs. Rockets Preview: Defense should still be priority No. 1

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The Lakers can’t afford to take a step back on the defensive end.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers handily won their first game against the Houston Rockets on Sunday by dominating on the defensive end of the floor. The question is: can they do the same thing in their second matchup on Tuesday?

Although it didn’t look like it on Sunday, the Rockets are good offensive team. Even after scoring just 102 points in their loss to the Lakers, the Rockets are ranked 12th in the NBA in offensive rating, scoring 110.8 points per 100 possessions. Before Sunday’s game, they were ranked seventh.

Even if John Wall isn’t available due to the migraine that kept him out of the Rockets’ practice on Monday, Houston has no shortage of weapons they can throw at Los Angeles, and they’ll have home court advantage (if such a thing exists anymore) once again. Additionally, they actually got a practice in on Monday — the Lakers didn’t.

In other words, there will be no room for letdown on the Lakers’ end on Tuesday, especially when you consider how motivated the Rockets will likely be after getting blown out on Sunday. I mean, Christian Wood had to have circled this game extra hard after the way he was outplayed on Sunday, right?

I guess we’ll find out when the Lakers and Rockets tip-off at 5 p.m. PT at the Toyota Center. The game will be broadcast locally on Spectrum SportsNet and nationally on NBA TV.

Notes and Updates

  • Wesley Matthews was a late scratch on Sunday due to Achilles soreness. The soreness is in his left leg, which isn’t the same leg that he suffered a ruptured Achilles in 2015, but it’s still a cause for concern because of his injury history and the mileage he has on his legs at the age of 34. He has been declared out for this game too, as have Jared Dudley (right calf soreness) and Kostas Antetokounmpo (right knee patellar tendinitis).
  • Anthony Davis (right adductor strain) and LeBron James (left ankle sprain) are questionable, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left ankle sprain) is listed as probable.
  • As noted as the top of the story, John Wall didn’t practice with the Rockets on Monday due to a migraine and has been listed as questionable for Tuesday’s contest. Eric Gordon is also questionable with lower leg tightness.

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