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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Sunday, November 15th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (5-4) at Los Angeles Lakers (7-2), 9:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will welcome a familiar face back to Hollywood this evening, when the Houston Rockets pay a visit to Staples Center.

Los Angeles eliminated the Rockets in seven games during last season's Western Conference semifinals, and continued to torment the Southwest Division inhabitants by recently recording a 103-102 overtime victory at Houston on November 4. Ron Artest scored 15 points in his return to Houston after signing with LA in the offseason.

The Lakers have won the last five regular season meetings with the Rockets, who have lost four of six in the City of Angels.

The Lakers, though, are hoping to bounce back from Friday's 105-79 setback at Denver, as Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum each scored 19 points to pace Los Angeles in just its second loss of the 2009-10 season (7-2). Los Angeles, which got 15 rebounds from Bynum, had its six-game winning streak stopped and will commence a five-game homestand Sunday versus the Rockets, Pistons, Bulls, Thunder and Knicks. LA is 5-1 as the host.

"They drug us," Bryant said of the Nuggets. "They played with a lot of energy and executed extremely well. We tried to keep it a manageable distance, but weren't able to do that. They broke us open pretty good."

Houston has alternated wins and losses over its last six games, and is coming off Friday's 109-100 loss at Sacramento.

Trevor Ariza led the Rockets with 28 points, six rebounds, five assists and a career-high matching five steals. Shane Battier scored 23 points and Luis Scola recorded 20 with nine rebounds in the setback.

"They got it going and we gave up 63 (in the first half). You're not going to win in this league doing that on the road," said Rockets head coach Rick Adelman. "It wasn't our offense. Put it all on the defensive end because we didn't have any of it in the first half."

Aaron Brooks chipped in 10 points in defeat.

11/15 10:30:57 ET

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