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Lakers vs. Rockets Preview: Nothing for granted

On Wednesday, the Lakers will hopefully keep their focus and continue climbing the Western Conference standings against one of the league’s worst teams, the Houston Rockets.

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Tyler Ross/NBAE via Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers will face the Houston Rockets for just the second time this season. The game will be the second night of a road back-to-back following their win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of this short turnaround.

Promising news... but...

As Lakers fans were waiting to see whether or not the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram would be able to return from an absence to play against their team on Tuesday — unsurprisingly, he did return — they were treated to a different injury update coming from inside their own house.

That update revolved around LeBron James and his right foot injury, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported below that he took part in on-court activity for the first time since sustaining the injury on Feb. 26 in a win vs. the Mavericks.

In addition to being seen on the court, LeBron also made sure that his positive updates today were seen on Instagram, posting a graphic he’s used before to show that his return is getting closer and closer.

The Lakers players — especially the ones acquired at the deadline that haven’t had an extended period of playing with LeBron — had to have been ecstatic seeing him return to the court, even if it was for some light exercises and free throws.

However, they can’t allow that to cloud their dedication to getting better and better, day in and day-out. Although LeBron’s re-evaluation will be likely coming at some point next week when the three-week mark nears, the Lakers can’t let any game slip through their grasp anymore like they sort of did Sunday against the New York Knicks, who were without Jalen Brunson.

They certainly can’t do that against the team currently competing for the worst record in the NBA in pursuit of drafting Victor Wembanyama. Since the All-Star break, the Rockets are 3-7 (which is hilariously a better winning percentage than what they currently have on the season as a whole), with the third-worst net rating of all NBA teams.

So yes, it’s awesome that LeBron is getting closer to returning. But only us fans should be overjoyed by that. Hopefully, the Lakers players still keep their heads down for a couple more weeks, and continue focusing on the very important individual games at hand, starting with what will hopefully be a win in Houston.

Notes and Updates:

  • Due to the Lakers playing the first night of a back-to-back on Tuesday, their injury report for this game won’t release until sometime early on Wednesday.
  • Unfortunately, we already know one player who is sitting out: Anthony Davis, who head coach Darvin Ham said would miss the game for scheduled rest to continue to manage his foot injury.
  • There were no surprises in availability for Tuesday’s game vs. the Pelicans. LeBron James (right foot soreness) and Mo Bamba (left ankle sprain) both missed due to their respective, longer-term injuries, while Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider sat out due for G League play.
  • Sophomore standout Alperen Sengun (left groin strain) is listed as questionable on the injury report for this game. He was given the night off with the injury in their game on Monday vs. the Celtics. The Rockets will also be without Trevor Hudgins and Darius Days (G-League play).

The Lakers and Rockets will tip off at 5 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on Spectrum SportsNet.

You can follow Donny on Twitter at @donny_mchenry.

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