The Los Angeles Lakers and three-game losing streaks don't go together well, or at least very often. The Lakers will try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat tonight as they head battle the Houston Rockets, without Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks, at Toyota Center in Houston. Since acquiring Pau Gasol on February 1, 2008, the Lakers have lost three straight regular season games just twice. In fact, head coach Phil Jackson has never had a championship team lose four straight games.
The Lakers have won eight of their last nine regular season games against the Rockets, including a comeback victory on opening night this season, 112-110 at Staples Center on October 26. The Lakers are 9-4 all-time at Toyota Center in Houston. Under Jackson, the Lakers are 27-11 in the regular season against the Rockets.
Tonight is the second game in as many nights for the Lakers, who lost 98-96 in Memphis last night. This is their third set of back-to-back games this season, and they have won the second game on both previous occasions. The Lakers have an NBA-low 15 sets of back-to-back games this season, their lowest franchise total since the 1948-1949 season.
Kobe Bryant scored 41 points in defeat last night, his first 40-point game of the season and 105th 40-point game in his career. Kobe is second in the NBA in scoring, averaging 26.7 points per contest. Pau Gasol has played 177 of a possible 192 minutes in his last four games, and has played at least 44:41 in the last three games. He is averaging a career-high 39.4 minutes per game this season.
The Rockets are just 5-12 on the season, and have lost six of their last eight games. Both point guard Aaron Brooks (who has missed 12 straight games) and Yao Ming (who has missed the last 10 games) have missed considerable time with left ankle injuries, and likely won't be back until next week. Houston is 3-4 at home this season.
Tonight's 5:30 p.m. PST game will be televised on KCAL.
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