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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 30th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (46-26) at Los Angeles Lakers (38-33), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The playoff-bound Houston Rockets try to collect their third straight win when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at the Staples Center.

Houston, which has already clinched a berth in the postseason, is the fifth seed in the Western Conference, while the Lakers are No. 6 and have a 2 1/2 game lead over the seventh-seeded Denver Nuggets.

The Rockets attempt to sweep a two-game swing against the LA teams. Shane Battier hit the go-ahead three-pointer with under a minute left, as Houston beat the playoff-hopeful Clippers, 92-87, on Wednesday at the Staples Center.

Tracy McGrady scored 27 points and fellow All-Star Yao Ming ended with 24 points and 15 rebounds in the win for Houston. Rafer Alston had 14 points and Chuck Hayes contributed 10 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets, who have won seven of their last eight games overall.

Houston is 20-16 on the road this season. After tonight's game, the Rockets return to Texas for a three-game homestand. They will host Utah, Golden State and Portland at the Toyota Center.

The Lakers play the third of a five-game homestand. They are 1-1 on the current stand. On Tuesday, Tarence Kinsey poured in a career-high 24 points to lead the Memphis Grizzlies past the Lakers, 88-86, at the Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant, whose streak of scoring at least 50 points ended Sunday, had 23 points on 7-of-26 shooting from the floor for the Lakers, who had a five-game winning streak halted. Luke Walton finished with 15 points and Smush Parker netted 14 in defeat.

The Lakers are 23-12 as the host this season. They will finish the homestand with games against the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets.

On the injury front for the Lakers, center Kwame Brown (sore left ankle) is doubtful for tonight's contest. Brown, who did not play against Memphis, is averaging 8.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in just 36 games this season.

This is the fourth and final meeting of the campaign between the clubs. The Lakers are 2-1 against the Rockets this season, and have won four of the last six contests in the series.

Houston has lost two straight after winning its last two at the Lakers.

03/30 10:45:38 ET


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