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NBA Preview: Los Angeles Lakers (34-35) at Houston Rockets (16-52)

When the Houston Rockets visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, the Lakers will be without both of their stars, but they will be aiming for their fifth win in six games.

Due to a tendon injury in his right foot, LeBron James won’t play again until at least the following week.

The Lakers are wrapping up a run of back-to-back games on Wednesday, and Anthony Davis, who has been the team’s leader in James’ absence, will miss the game.

Davis scored 35 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in Tuesday’s 123-108 road win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Darvin Ham, the Lakers’ coach, said that Davis would be sat out of the Houston game because of the right foot injury that kept Davis out from mid-December to late January.

The team’s decision to give Davis a night off didn’t please Davis.

Since their roster was reshaped at the deadline for trades, the Lakers are 9-4. On Tuesday, they scored a franchise record 15 3-pointers in the first half and led the Pelicans by as many as 40 points before losing it in the third and fourth quarters.

Nonetheless, the Lakers achieved their primary objective and moved into a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

On Monday, rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. became the first Houston rookie since Hakeem Olajuwon to record three consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound double-doubles when he had 24 points and 11 rebounds in a 111-109 home victory over the Boston Celtics. Despite the fact that the Rockets, who finished last, are already out of playoff contention, Smith Jr. is providing them with strong late-season production.

Smith is averaging 24.7 points and 11 rebounds during his double-double streak, matching his career high of five 3-pointers. Smith’s improved play continues into the start of the season after the All-Star break. In the first 55 games, he averaged 12 points and seven rebounds, but in the last 10 games, he’s averaging 14.6 points and 7.6 rebounds.

After an 11-game losing streak, the Rockets have won three of their last six games, but they may still finish the NBA season with the worst record for a third time.

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