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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, November 13th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (3-4) at Houston Rockets (3-3), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - It's not easy being a one-man show, just ask Kobe Bryant. Despite him performing quite well, Bryant's Lakers are just 3-4 heading into tonight's contest against Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

Tonight's contest will mark the return of Lakers head coach Rudy Tomjanovich to Houston, where he won two World Championships with the Rockets. All told, Tomjanovich spent 33 years in Houston as a player and a coach before having to resign due to bladder cancer in March of 2003.

Bryant did all he could Friday night against Orlando, but the Lakers still dropped their second consecutive game, 122-113, at TD Waterhouse Centre. The All-Star poured in 41 points on 14-of-31 shooting, while registering eight assists and seven rebounds. Bryant went 11-of-12 from the charity stripe, improving his free throw shooting percent to 87.4.

Bryant is doing all his damage despite suffering from a plantar fascitis in his left foot. It is unknown how the injury will affect Bryant in the long run.

Chucky Atkins registered 21 points for the Lakers, while Lamar Odom added 16 and Caron Butler chipped in 15. As a team, Los Angeles shot 47 percent from the field while allowing Orlando to hit 50 percent of its attempts.

The difference in the game turned out to be three-point shooting, as Los Angeles hit just 8-of-23 (.345) while Orlando drained 12-of-22 (.545).

The 122 points allowed was a season high for the Lakers, who have surrendered at least 100 in all four of their losses.

The Lakers are just 1-3 on the road this season, including 1-2 on their current four-game trip.

Tracy McGrady is expected to be back in the lineup tonight, after missing Houston's 96-91 loss to Minnesota on Thursday. McGrady has been hampered with a strained hip flexor and groin strain.

In five games this season, the 25-year-old McGrady is averaging 20.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per contest.

Yao posted a game-high 25 points for the Rockets in the defeat to Minnesota. The center has averaged 17.3 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds in Houston's first six games this season.

Maurice Taylor scored 19 points for Houston, which had its three-game winning streak halted. Jim Jackson added 13 points with seven assists, but his defensive miscue at the end of the game proved costly.

Houston fell to 2-1 at home this season.

These teams have split four meetings in each of the last two seasons. However, Los Angeles has won eight of the last 12 overall in the set, increasing its all-time lead to 113-53.

11/13 10:14:20 ET


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