The Lakers are in the midst of their first losing streak of the season after dropping two straight games to begin their road trip. They’re currently winless on the road and will try to rectify that as they head back toward the West Coast, where they will take on the Houston Rockets next.
Start time and TV schedule
Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets
When: 5 p.m. PT, Wednesday, Nov. 8.
Where: Toyota Center
Watch: Spectrum Sportsnet
The Lakers made it a point to avoid trailing against the Miami Heat in the first quarter and they did just that by ending the period tied at 33-33. The team entered the game with an eight-man rotation that actually kept up with Miami but, unfortunately, Anthony Davis suffered a hip injury in the second quarter which caused him to sit out for most of the night.
That left Los Angeles with seven players plus their three two-way signings, and it didn’t help that D’Angelo Russell was ejected in the fourth quarter as well. By the end of the game, the Lakers only had six active players — yes, six(!) players left, this early in the season.
Talk about terrible luck to begin the year. The Lakers’ schedule is at one of its toughest points and it seems like they’re experiencing their first adversity this early in the season.
Lakers are 7 games into the Season— Dr. Evan Jeffries, DPT (@GameInjuryDoc) November 7, 2023
-Gabe Vincent (knee)
-Jared Vanderbilt (heel bursitis)
-Jalen Hood-Schifino (knee)
-Jaxson Hayes (ankle sprain)
-AD (hip/groin “pending”)
NEW season SAME pattern
The way the Lakers lost their fourth game of the year was pretty much a microcosm of how their season has gone for them thus far: one missed opportunity after another by a team that just can’t seem to get it together due to unforeseen circumstances — despite a stellar performance by LeBron James.
These frustrating losses are gradually piling up and can only be corrected with time and patience, as the team awaits for the injury report to be clearer. It’s a test for the team’s overall morale while they weather through their first storm of the season together.
Since these are the cards the Lakers are being dealt with, the question now is how they find ways to win games. The last thing they want is for these losses to pile up, especially since it could hunt them down the road.
That said, one of the best characteristics of this Lakers team since Darvin Ham took over as head coach is their perseverance, and right now, they’re going to have to lean on that once again. That should be evident in the way the purple and gold perform in the next game against the Rockets.
What to expect from the Rockets:
The Rockets may have been perceived as one of the worst teams in the Western Conference before the season commenced but they’re certainly not playing like it right now. They’ve split their first six games and so far.
Led by Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun, this team might seem mediocre at best but make no mistake: they can beat anyone that comes in their way especially this early in the season where teams aren’t looking to tank their record just yet.
The Lakers’ guards — whoever is honestly left in the rotation — will have their hands full with VanVleet and the ever-pesky Brooks. Green and Sengun have led the team in scoring so far, so look out for them to do just that on Wednesday. This Rockets team can score in multiple ways but just like the Lakers, haven’t been rebounding well, ranking 26th in the league in the first weeks of the season.
And oh, speaking of Brooks, it seems he’s already started with the trash talk.
It would be ideal if the Lakers’ defense shows up in this game and limits second-chance points, offensive rebounds and points in the paint. Given who’s on the injury report right now, this can be a winnable game for Los Angeles but one that will be tougher than initially expected.
Let’s see if the Lakers can finally win on the road after four tries on Wednesday against the Rockets.
Notes and Updates:
- And here comes the most dreadful part of this preview: The Lakers’ injury report. The team lists Jarred Vanderbilt (left heel bursitis), Jalen Hood-Schifino (right patella contusion) as out. Meanwhile, the bigs in Anthony Davis (left adductor/hip spasm) and Jaxson Haynes (ankle) are labeled as questionable.
- Rui Hachimura (concussion protocol), who missed four games prior to Wednesday’s matchup, is now upgraded to probable
- As for the Rockets, rookie Amen Thompson (ankle sprain) and veteran Victor Oladipo (knee) won’t be suiting up on Wednesday. Tari Earson (stress fracture), who hasn’t played a game this season, will reportedly make his debut against the Lakers on Wednesday.
You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani