The league-leading Houston Rockets ( 64-16 ) visit the Los Angeles Lakers ( 34-46 ) in their second to the last regular season game. Game time is set at 10:30 PM EST
No Let Up
The Rockets have already set a new franchise record for most wins in a single season. But they have not settled for that. Instead, they’ve kept on adding to that record. They are now at 64 wins and with two games left to play, there are no signs that the Rockets are letting up.
The Rockets have already locked up home-court advantage throughout the entire postseason and should be resting their big guns by now. But with the playoffs just around the corner, coach Mike D’Antoni is looking to keep his boys sharp and not lose their focus.
Harden’s Heavy Minutes
Despite having nothing to play for, top MVP candidate James Harden has continued to log in heavy minutes. The Beard has so far rested in just one game and with only two games left to play in the regular season, there is a possibility that he will sit out one. However, knowing Harden’s competitive fire, he may want to finish the season strong if only to add more mustard to his MVP candidacy.
But even if Harden sits out against the Lakers, Houston is too loaded with talent to miss a beat, even at this stage of the regular season and especially since they are relatively healthy while the young but inconsistent Lakers are not.
Lakers Missing Key Players
In an injury-filled season, it’s a surprise that the Rockets are almost at 100% full strength at this stage of the year. In their most recent game against the OKC Thunder, the Rockets only played without reserves Eric Gordon ( sore left ankle ) and Ryan Anderson ( sprained left ankle ). Gordon is listed as probable on Tuesday while Anderson will remain out of action against the Lakers.
On the other hand, the Lakers are without four key players due to injury… Lonzo Ball ( bruised left knee ), Isaiah Thomas ( stiff right hip ), Brandon Ingram ( concussion ) and Kyle Kuzma ( sprained left ankle ) are expected to miss the game. Without three of their top three leading scorers and their top three assists producers, the Lakers’ offense is sure going to have a hard time keeping up with the high powered Rockets.
Top-Rated Offense and Defense
Houston’s 112. 8 points scored per game is just a point shy of the NBA’s most prolific offense in the Golden State Warriors ( 113.9 PPG ). But not only do the Rockets have a top rated offense, their defense is ranked in the league’s Top 10. Houston allows just 104.0 points per game, tied for 7th in the NBA. Given what the Lakers are missing in this game, Houston should have an easy night in Tinseltown.
Los Angeles has won just thrice in the last 10 games and has lost two in a row. Meanwhile, the Rockets are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Houston is coming off a 108-102 loss to the Thunder but they have lost consecutive games only three times this season, none since January 6th. The Rockets lead their season series 2-1 and it’s most likely that the final tally will be 3-1.