In their last meeting back in September 2020, the LA Lakers thrashed the Houston Rockets 4-1 to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The series marked the end of the longest drought in franchise history as the Lakers reached the Conference Finals after a decade.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis didn't stop there as they went all the way, winning the 2019-2020 NBA Championship by defeating the Miami Heat in six games.
Fast forward to the new season, and it feels like history could repeat itself. The Lakers enter this contest with the best record in the West with a 7-1 record. LeBron James continues to play phenomenally well and is well-supported by the rest of the cast.
'Houston, we have a problem' — is what the organization is echoing with the James Harden situation. The 'Beard' has made it clear that he wants out and wishes to join a team that can make a run for the title this season. The unrest caused by the trade request is reflected in the Rockets' stuttering season record of 3-4.
In the offseason, the Rockets parted ways with Russell Westbrook and brought in John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. The uncertainty around Houston's future has clearly affected the new acquisition too. On the brighter side, Rockets fans are witnessing a star in the making in Christian Wood.
The former Detroit Pistons man is having a breakout season and continues to impress with his stellar play on both ends of the offensive end of the floor.
Fixture: LA Lakers vs Houston Rockets - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Sunday, January 10th, 2021 7:00 PM ET. (Monday 5:30 AM IST)
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
LA Lakers Preview
The LA Lakers have admittedly not played their 'A' game recently but still managed to hold on for the victory against the Chicago Bulls 117-115.
Anthony Davis sat the game out, and Marc Gasol served as his replacement. The LA Lakers had five players score in double digits with their floor general, LeBron James, leading the effort with 28 points to go with seven rebounds and seven assists.
The LA Lakers may see Anthony Davis suit up for their matchup with Houston, but his status remains to be on a day-to-day basis for now.
Also Read: Lebron James’ Finals Appearances and stats
Key Player - LeBron James
LeBron James is having another great season and will be the key player for the LA Lakers as they head into their matchup with the Rockets on Sunday.
It will be a battle of James vs James, as the two All-Stars meet for the first time this season.
LeBron continues to put up impressive numbers this campaign and is averaging 24.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.8 assists in ten games so far. He is shooting 48.6% from the field and 36.7% from beyond the arc.
LA Lakers' Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder, G Wesley Matthews, F LeBron James, F Markieff Morris, C Marc Gasol.
Houston Rockets Preview
The Rockets have been erratic with their performances this season and continue their search for a resolution in the James Harden situation. They have tried many lineups and have been moving players around from game to game for a host of reasons that include the COVID-19 health and safety protocols that are in place this season.
Coming into this matchup, the Rockets had their best game of the season as they defeated a red hot Orlando Magic 132-90. The game saw Houston firing on all cylinders as they outscored the Magic in every quarter of the game.
James Harden did not score like he usually does but registered a whopping 13 assists for the night. Wall and Cousins had a slow game, and leading the Rockets was none other than Christian Wood, who put up a team-high 22 points and 15 rebounds in 27 minutes.
The Rockets will be raring to go in their matchup with the defending champs in the LA Lakers and will be hungry to take revenge for ending their playoff series defeat a few months ago.
Key Player - James Harden
It would be fitting to see James Harden lead the Rockets in this matchup with the LA Lakers. Trade or no trade, Harden has enough motivation to one-up LeBron for ending Houston's run last postseason.
James Harden is one of the most gifted scorers the league has ever witnessed and can light up opponents in the blink of an eye. 'The Beard' will come into this game look to make a statement by having a monster performance and defeating the defending champions.
James Harden is averaging 27 points, 11.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in six games this season. He is shooting 45.7% from the field and 37.9% from beyond the arc.
Houston Rockets' Predicted Lineup
G John Wall, G James Harden, F P. J. Tucker, F David Nwaba, C Christian Wood.
Lakers vs Rockets Match Prediction
This game has all the makings of a showdown between two legendary players. LeBron James is coming off a Championship season, while James Harden is desperately seeking to move to a team that can help him get there.
The Rockets will have a point to prove, and this could give them the edge. That said, LeBron James and the LA Lakers have been through more challenging situations before and have come out on top.
The LA Lakers are the favorites to take home the win in this matchup.
Where to watch Lakers vs Rockets?
Local coverage of the game will be available on AT&T SportsNet Southwest and Spectrum SportsNet. The game can also be live-streamed via the NBA League Pass.Published 10 Jan 2021, 03:23 IST