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Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers game preview

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The Rockets look to start their first winning streak in 7 games tonight when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

First off, huge thanks to Max and Allen for covering for me this past week. It's always nice to read previews from different perspectives. Hopefully you guys didn't see greener pastures and want me gone now.

Anyway, Houston has been going with the "win one, lose one" strategy for the last 7 games. Tonight they will try to start their first winning streak since they ripped off four in a row earlier this month. The schedule has softened up a little for Houston and with winnable games for the rest of January the Rockets could solidify their top 4 position in the Western Conference.

Houston heads into Los Angeles to take on a Lakers team that defeated the Rockets in Houston the last time these teams met. The Rockets had the lead for the majority of that game, but allowed LA to hang around until the closing moments, when Houston couldn't score and LA couldn't miss. That's the price you pay for keeping teams in games. It should be noted that Houston was without Dwight Howard in that game.

The game will be without one of its biggest stars, and possibly two. Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff and won't play tonight. Howard sprained his ankle against Phoenix so he might get a rest tonight.

Interesting to note is that in the last Lakers game, Byron Scott played every available Laker except for Jeremy Lin, who got a DNP-CD. It adds on to a disappointing season for Lin, who hasn't been able to get much going this year and has been coming off the bench. When Kobe went down, I think most assumed that Lin would get a chance to run the offense and show his skills. Alas, Scott thought differently.

Tarik Black missed the Lakers' last game as well with a sprained ankle.

Sadly, no Dwight would rob us of the greatest thing about playing in LA: the "YOU SUCK" chants!

Tip-off is at 8:30pm CST.

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