Lakers at Rockets Preview: Lakers look to keep climbing up toward 6th seed

The Lakers have another pivotal game ahead as they take on the Rockets on Sunday. Los Angeles is on a two-game win streak, and every game matters from here on out.

The Lakers are 8th in the Western Conference at 39-38 but could reclaim the 7th spot with a win against Houston. The Rockets have the second-worst record in the NBA at 19-59.

Los Angeles is back at full strength (except for Mo Bamba), which gives them a real chance to make a run.

Moving up to a top-six seed in the conference would give them a legit playoff spot and be highly beneficial, as they wouldn’t have to go through the play-in tournament.

The Clippers currently hold the 6th spot. They have a record of 41-38. The Lakers have the same amount of losses, which gives them a chance to surpass them in the final games. 

Every game is crucial, and a game against the Rockets is very winnable. Houston is a young team that hasn’t won many games this year. However, they beat the Lakers in their last matchup when LeBron James and Anthony Davis were out.

With the star duo in the lineup, it is a much more favorable game for the Lakers.

Darvin Ham will keep the same starting lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, James, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Davis. This lineup has been elite and should matchup well against Houston.

The Rockets starting lineup will likely remain Kevin Porter Jr, Jalen Green, Kenyon Martin Jr, Jabari Smith Jr, and Alperen Sengun.

Sengun gave the Lakers defense problems last time they played, but Davis should be able to contain him.

Ham could have Vanderbilt defend Green, with Reaves on Porter Jr, James on Smith Jr, and Russell on Martin Jr.

While the LakeShow should win this game, you can never take a team for granted in the NBA. One of the keys to winning this game is containing Sengun and Green. If they can contain those two, the Rockets' offense should struggle.

Another key is to limit turnovers, as the offense has been great when they take care of the ball.

Offensively, Ham did a better job of staggering James and Davis’ minutes, which allowed for the role players to play more consistently.

Ham will need to do this again with his rotation, which helps the bench production and players like Malik Beasley to step up.

This is a very winnable game for the Lakers and would help them a ton to keep pushing for a top-six seed. Look for James and Davis to lead the way as the postseason approaches.

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