Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
Houston at L.A. Lakers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

The NBA-best Houston Rockets are coming off a rare defeat as they enter Tuesday's road game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Houston, which owns a league-best 64-16 record, fell for just the third time in its past 33 games when it suffered a 108-102 home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

Nobody associated with the Rockets was too dejected over the setback as Oklahoma City is fighting for a playoff spot and Houston is just trying to maintain its performance heading into the postseason. "We're good. We're in a great place right now," All-Star guard James Harden told reporters. "We have two more games to close it out and be ready for the playoffs." The Lakers are skidding toward the finish and Sunday's 112-97 setback against the Utah Jazz marked their 10th loss in the past 13 games. Small forward Brandon Ingram (concussion) will miss his fifth consecutive game while rookie point guard Lonzo Ball (sidelined six straight games with a knee injury) and forward Kyle Kuzma (sat out Saturday due to an ankle ailment) are questionable performers.

TV:
10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), Spectrum Sports Net (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (64-16): Houston may opt to rest some players over the final two games of the season but coach Mike D'Antoni indicates he's more apt to let the player make the call as opposed to the coaching staff. "Most guys want to play," D'Antoni told reporters. "If somebody needs a break, we'll give him one, but we'll be very careful about how much we play." Harden, who leads the NBA with a 30.6 scoring average, doesn't like sitting out, so a minutes' reduction could be in store for him should the Rockets be winning or losing by a significant margin.

ABOUT THE LAKERS (34-46): Rookie guard Josh Hart has been receiving increased playing time with Ball sidelined and he put together back-to-back 20-point outings after scoring 25 against the Jazz. Hart is averaging 13.7 points and 7.5 rebounds in six games since returning from a broken hand and is displaying he can be counted on as a member of the playing rotation next season. "Throughout the season, every time he gets the opportunity to play big minutes or have a bigger role, he has been pretty good for us," Los Angeles coach Luke Walton told reporters. "He is one of our best finishers, he is one of our best rebounders and he can push it in transition."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Rockets are 2-1 against the Lakers this season and won 13 of the past 16 meetings.

2. Houston G Eric Gordon and F Ryan Anderson are each expected to miss their third straight games due to ankle injuries.

3. Los Angeles rookie G Tyler Ennis scored a season-best 22 points against Utah and is averaging 12.5 points over the past four contests.

PREDICTION: Rockets 123, Lakers 115
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Houston 64-16 L1 34-7 30-9 1-1 63-15 12-4 40-10
L.A. Lakers 34-46 L2 20-20 14-26 3-2 31-44 5-10 18-32
Last Meeting
Houston L.A. Lakers
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/31/17 LAL 142 HOU 148 148 43 46.2 142 54 50.5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 40 50.0 17
L.A. Lakers J. Randle 29 68.4 3
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston T. Black 9 4 5
L.A. Lakers J. Randle 15 4 11
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 11
L.A. Lakers T. Ennis 11
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 2254 44.6 641
L.A. Lakers J. Randle 1380 55.3 316
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston C. Capela 825 246 579
L.A. Lakers J. Randle 685 183 502
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 651
L.A. Lakers L. Ball 388
Quickchart Matchup
Houston Houston Off vs  L.A. Lakers L.A. Lakers Defense
Houston Off vs L.A. Lakers - Points For 112.8 Points For
Houston Off vs L.A. Lakers - Points Against 109.8 Points Against
Houston - FG% 46.1 FG%
L.A. Lakers - FG% 45.6 FG%
Houston - Reb 43.4 Reb
L.A. Lakers - Reb 44.8 Reb
L.A. Lakers L.A. Lakers Off vs  Houston Houston Defense
L.A. Lakers Off vs Houston - Points For 108.1 Points For
L.A. Lakers Off vs Houston - Points Against 104.0 Points Against
L.A. Lakers - FG% 46.1 FG%
Houston - FG% 46.3 FG%
L.A. Lakers - Reb 46.3 Reb
Houston - Reb 41.9 Reb