Sat, 19 Jun 2021

Lakers to face Rockets again without LeBron James

Field Level Media
13 May 2021, 08:05 GMT+10

LeBron James will again sit out when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

James ruled himself out earlier Wednesday. It will mark the sixth straight game and 26th in the past 28 that James will miss.

"Getting close but I won't be in the lineup tonight but more importantly I will be there to put that CHAMPIONSHIP banner in the rafters at Staples Center in front of our fans!! No17," James said on Twitter while referring to the scheduled pregame ceremony Wednesday to raise last season's NBA title banner.

James considered returning for Tuesday's 101-99 overtime against the visiting New York Knicks before deciding to take more time to allow the ankle to heal. He initially hurt it March 20 when he suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Atlanta Hawks.

James returned for two games but intense soreness after a game against the Toronto Raptors on May 2 pushed him right back out of the lineup.

Anthony Davis tweaked his groin while scoring 20 points against New York and said he will see how he feels as game time approaches.

"Very strong possibility that I fight through it and play," said Davis, "but also don't want to have it (linger)."

Los Angeles (39-30) notched a huge victory against the Knicks with the winning points coming on Talen Horton-Tucker's 3-pointer with 20.3 seconds left in the extra session.

"He's got big guts, I can say that," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. "He showed that with that shot."

The Lakers are in seventh place in Western Conference with three games remaining. They stand one game behind the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks in the battle to finish among the top six and avoid the play-in round.

Los Angeles has won back-to-back games for the first time since March 26 and 28 as they enter the contest against the lowly Rockets (16-53), who have lost six straight games and 43 of their past 48 games.

The Lakers will be shorthanded in the backcourt Wednesday as Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols) will miss his seventh straight game and Alex Caruso also could sit out after leaving against the Knicks due to right foot soreness.

Houston hopes to have standout big man Christian Wood (right ankle) back on the floor after a four-game absence.

Wood, listed as questionable, averages 21 points and 9.6 rebounds in 41 games played.

Houston's defense was missing in the opening quarter of Monday's 140-129 road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland scored a franchise-record 50 points in the stanza and tied the NBA record for 3-pointers in a quarter with 12.

Rockets coach Stephen Silas tried to give his injury-plagued squad some slack but found it impossible this time.

"You can see guys limping around and all that and I'm proud of the effort," Silas said, "but I'm still disappointed in the defense -- 140 points is a lot of points to give up."

Kelly Olynyk returned from a one-game absence due to an ankle injury and scored 21 points. D.J. Augustin also had 21, his most this season.

Khyri Thomas, recently signed to a 10-day contract, scored 18 points and is averaging 20.3 in three games with the Rockets.

Danuel House Jr. and DaQuan Jeffries each tweaked their right ankles on Monday. Both are questionable.

The Lakers swept a back-to-back in Houston in January, prevailing by an average of 17.5 points.

--Field Level Media

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