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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, January 5th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (20-14) at Los Angeles Lakers (27-6), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers hope to avenge one of their few losses at Staples Center this season when they host the Houston Rockets tonight.

The Lakers are an NBA-best 19-3 on their home floor and a perfect 3-0 on their current four-game homestand, but one of their setbacks in LA came against Houston, a 101-91 loss back in November.

Most recently, the Lakers demolished the Rockets' division rival, Dallas, on Sunday. Jordan Farmar matched a career high with 24 points, as Los Angeles annihilated the Mavericks, 131-96.

Kobe Bryant had eight assists to go with 15 points, which tied him for 15th with Patrick Ewing on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Both players have 24,815 career points.

Andrew Bynum tallied 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. Lamar Odom ended with 15 points, 15 rebounds and six assists for the Lakers.

"I was able to get more playing time tonight and I has some good looks. This is just one game and we played well," Farmar said.

The news wasn't all good for Los Angeles, however. Already without defensive stalwart Ron Artest (concussion) for a fifth straight game, the Lakers lost All-Star forward Pau Gasol early in the game Sunday to a left hamstring injury.

Gasol missed the first 11 games this season - including both previous meetings with Houston - with a strained right hamstring and is listed as doubtful for tonight's contest.

Artest, however, may be ready to return. The swingman, who suffered his concussion on Christmas Day after tripping over a box and falling down a set of stairs, was able to practice Monday.

The Rockets, meanwhile, opened a three-game road trip in losing fashion on Saturday when Chris Paul poured in a game-high 28 points and dished out nine assists, as the New Orleans Hornets rallied late to defeat Houston, 99-95.

Trevor Ariza donated 19 points and seven rebounds for the Rockets, who had won three of four coming in.

Aaron Brooks finished with 17 points. Luis Scola chipped in 15 points while Kyle Lowry added 12 points, six boards, and six assists for Houston, which was very disappointed in the officiating.

"I'm very disappointed with the loss. I'm trying to find out what an offensive foul is," Rockets head coach Rick Adelman said. "That's all I want to find out is what an offensive foul is. Is it more than slapping a guy's hand away, is it more than stepping in front of a guy, is it more than putting a shoulder down? I don't know. That's all I've got to say about this game, otherwise it's going to cost me."

The Rockets, who are 10-10 on the road, will finish their current trek in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Houston snapped a five-game skid to the Lakers with the win in November. Brooks scored a career-high 33 points in that one as the Rockets took advantage of a rare off-night by Bryant, who shot just 5-of-20 en route to 18 points in the setback.

01/05 10:24:56 ET


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