Houston is much better at home (6-3) than on the road (2-5). The Lakers have been struggling recently, and have won just one of five on the road.
With a win, the Lakers would leapfrog the Rockets in the Western Conference standings.
Bryant versus Harden again is the marquee matchup. Bryant is averaging a league-leading 27.3 points a game. Harden is fifth at 24.1.
When Harden shoots well, the Rockets typically win. Harden has shot 31.8% from the field and 26.8% from three-point range in eight losses. In victories, he's a dominant 52.8% and 40%, respectively.
Bryant is more efficient from the field at home (50.4%) but he scores 29.2 points a game on the road (at 45.1%). The Lakers all-star guard is scoring three fewer points per game (26.5) at Staples Center.
Parsons has been a force for the Rockets, averaging 15.9 points a night on 48.4% shooting from the field and 42.9% from three-point range. He torched the Lakers in their last meeting, and if he hits another eight-of-10 shots, Houston is going to be very hard to beat.
It seems the deciding factor more often than not for the Lakers is free-throw shooting. It's not one player specifically (although it really is) but a statistical category. Can Howard hit from the line? When he can't, teams aren't shy to send him there multiple times (often intentionally).
The Lakers seem to respond after a loss, and the Rockets play a fast-paced game where defense appears to be an afterthought. Given the need for a win, the Lakers should be able to get their second victory on the road.
That said, the Rockets are a dangerous club and the Lakers will not have an easy night.ALSO: