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Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers game preview

The Rockets look to beat Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and finally get back to .500.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Since Dwight Howard chose the Rockets over the Lakers in free agency, the Rockets have been the better of the two ballclubs. There's plenty of evidence to support that claim but that's not the point.

The point is that despite Houston having a better team both seasons, the Lakers have taken a game off the Rockets at Toyota Center in both seasons. Both games were close, and both came down to one big play.

In 2013, it was the Steve Blake 3 over Dwight Howard that gave the Rockets a loss. Kobe Bryant didn't play but did show up at the Yote.

In 2014, the Rockets never separated fully from the Lakers and Jordan Hill couldn't miss late. With the game on the line, the Rockets' offense stalled and turned into a Tarik Black post-up. Black, of course, is now with the Lakers and has gotten a DNP-CD in their last 9 games. Oh, and ESPN hasn't updated his profile picture since he was a Rocket.

We won't have to get into calling this a "trap game" or anything for Rockets fans because this is the same Houston team that has lost to Brooklyn twice, almost lost to Philly at home, and needed a miracle rainbow running 3 from Corey Brewer to beat a beat-up Portland squad.

Oh, and wanna hear something crazy that isn't really crazy at all?

The Rockets have won 11 games this season, mostly against inferior competition.

They haven't won a game by more than 7 points all season.

Tonight, the Rockets will try to change that. But Kobe Bryant and his band of younglings might have one last story left to tell.

Rockets! Lakers! ON NBC!

Tip-off is at 7pm CST. Oh, and it's not on NBC.

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