Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
L.A. Lakers at Houston
When: 8:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 19, 2019
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off their best non-LeBron James win with an overtime triumph at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, but things are only getting tougher. The Lakers will try to make it three consecutive wins without James when they visit James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

Los Angeles improved to 5-7 since James went down with a groin injury on Christmas Day when they outlasted the Thunder 138-128 in overtime, proving to itself that it can win a big game without the superstar cornerstone. "It says we have enough," Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, who handed out 11 assists in the win, told reporters. "It says we have guys in this room that can do different things at different times and in any night it can be a different guy's night on the basketball floor. No matter what we do, if we follow the game plan, that we can be really good." Los Angeles will have to come up with a game plan to defend Harden, who continues to put up other-worldly numbers while the Rockets deal with a trio of key injuries. Those injuries may finally be catching up to the team as Harden poured in 58 points on Wednesday, but Houston still dropped a 145-142 overtime decision to the Brooklyn Nets at home.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC

ABOUT THE LAKERS (25-21): Notable in Los Angeles' win on Thursday was the play of the bench, which outscored the Oklahoma City reserves 61-23 in the contest and led surges in the second and fourth quarters that kept the Lakers in the game. Center Ivica Zubac scored a career-high 26 points on 12-of-14 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds while shooting guard Josh Hart filled up the box score with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. "I don't think he missed any 50-50 ball that came by him," point guard Lonzo Ball told reporters of Hart. "And you know we ask him to do a lot at his size, play the four sometimes, but he never complains. He just goes in there and does his job."

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (25-19): Harden scored 57 in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and went one better with a season high against the Nets, giving him 30 or more points in 18 straight games - two shy of matching Wilt Chamberlain's record - and 40 or more in nine of the last 12. Houston got Eric Gordon (knee) back in Wednesday's loss but is still without point guard Chris Paul (hamstring) and will be missing defensive anchor and master dunker Clint Capela for four to six weeks after he underwent thumb surgery. Gordon scored 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting against Brooklyn but left the game early in the fourth quarter with knee soreness and is considered day-to-day.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Lakers PG Rajon Rondo (finger) was cleared for full-contact practice.

2. The Rockets attempted an NBA-record 70 3-pointers on Wednesday, connecting on 23.

3. Houston took the first two meetings this season by an average of 12 points.

PREDICTION: Rockets 126, Lakers 121
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
L.A. Lakers 25-21 W2 15-9 10-12 2-2 23-19 5-2 17-14
Houston 25-19 L1 16-7 9-12 1-1 24-18 6-4 16-12
Last Meeting
L.A. Lakers Houston
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/13/18 LAL 111 HOU 126 111 31 53.8 126 43 49.4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
L.A. Lakers L. James 29 66.7 2
Houston J. Harden 50 53.8 18
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
L.A. Lakers T. Chandler 8 2 6
Houston C. Capela 14 4 10
Assists Player  
L.A. Lakers L. Ball 8
Houston J. Harden 11
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
L.A. Lakers L. James 983 52.2 195
Houston J. Harden 1531 43.6 434
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
L.A. Lakers L. James 302 32 270
Houston C. Capela 553 218 335
Assists Player  
L.A. Lakers L. James 258
Houston J. Harden 381
Quickchart Matchup
L.A. Lakers L.A. Lakers Off vs  Houston Houston Defense
L.A. Lakers Off vs Houston - Points For 111.9 Points For
L.A. Lakers Off vs Houston - Points Against 110.0 Points Against
L.A. Lakers - FG% 47.0 FG%
Houston - FG% 47.4 FG%
L.A. Lakers - Reb 47.5 Reb
Houston - Reb 43.6 Reb
Houston Houston Off vs  L.A. Lakers L.A. Lakers Defense
Houston Off vs L.A. Lakers - Points For 112.0 Points For
Houston Off vs L.A. Lakers - Points Against 110.8 Points Against
Houston - FG% 44.8 FG%
L.A. Lakers - FG% 44.2 FG%
Houston - Reb 42.1 Reb
L.A. Lakers - Reb 47.2 Reb