James Harden (foot) questionable to play on Sunday for Houston

01 January, 2018, 05:31 | Author: Alyssa Little
  • Washington forward Otto Porter Jr., comes up with a steal from Houston guard Gerald Green during their game at Capital One Arena on Friday night in Washington D.C. Porter scored a team-high 26 points to help the Wizards rout the Rockets. Must

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball will miss the team's back-to-back road games against the Houston Rockets on Sunday (Monday AEDT) and Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday (Tuesday AEDT) as he recovers from a left shoulder contusion.

The NBA's leading scorer left the game with 40 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field and 17-of-21 from the free throw line, plus 11 assists.

Our models project Harden for 54.1 FanDuel points in 36.0 minutes on Sunday.

The Lakers have won only once in the past 20 days and will close out 2017 in the same place they last picked up a win, at Houston.

Since Lopez sprained his ankle on December 18, the Lakers have been the league's 24th best defense, allowing 111.1 points per 100 possessions over six games. However, the Rockets had a silver lining in the form of Chris Paul's return following a three-game absence due to a groin injury.

The Rockets took a foul to stop the clock, but Harden had to limp away. Forward Danilo Gallinari is out for the second time with a glute injury. So I tried to be better in the second half, but ...

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Under first-year coordinator Todd Downing, the group appeared to take a step back, particularly Carr and receiver Amari Cooper. Gruden went 95-81 over his coaching career, notching a 38-26 record over the first four years of his career in Oakland.

For much of the night, it did not seem the Rockets could get another five-minute chance.

They fell behind 19-3 to open the game, for the second consecutive game making only one of their first 10 shots, and never could recover. Before the game, Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters that Harden is good to go.

Rockets: Clint Capela (right orbital fracture) is TBD.

They began playing with the defensive intensity that had been so lacking.

Mostly, the Rockets got going by finding the most obvious solution. The comeback did not begin immediately, with the Lakers scoring the final five points of the third quarter to take an 11-point lead to the fourth. James Harden led the team in scoring with just 20 points but he needed more support as no other starter finished in double figures. Including the loss to the Lakers, the Rockets (25-9) have lost five games in a row, more than they had lost total before Kyle Kuzma scored 38 points and the Lakers stole a 122-116 win on December 20.

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