Lakers vs. Rockets: Viewing Guide for Dwight Howard's First Clash with L.A.

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIINovember 7, 2013

Nov 2, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) is introduced prior to a game against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, Nov. 7, the Houston Rockets will host the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only will this game pit two postseason contenders against each other, but it also marks the first time Dwight Howard will play his former team during the 2013-14 NBA regular season.

Here's how you can watch it all transpire.

Viewing Guide
DateTime (ET)TVRoad TeamHome Team
Thursday, Nov. 79:30 p.m.TNTLos Angeles LakersHouston Rockets


Lakers Player to Watch: Xavier Henry

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Xavier Henry #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs on November 1, 2013 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Entering the 2013-14 NBA regular season, the word most commonly associated with shooting guard Xavier Henry was "bust." The No. 12 overall selection in the 2010 NBA draft, Henry has career averages of 4.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.8 minutes of action.

In his first year with the Lakers, Henry is reminding the NBA community of the most important fact: He's still just 22 years old.

Through five games, Henry is averaging 12.4 points in 26.2 minutes of action. He's scored in double digits in three of his first five outings after topping 10 points in three total games during the 2012-13 season.

Matched up against James Harden, look for Henry to exploit The Bearded One's mediocre defense. If he's able to, the Lakers will be in position to pull off the road upset over D12 and the Rockets.

If Henry can't score, however, it'll be yet another rough day for the Lakers.


Rockets Player to Watch: Dwight Howard

Nov 2, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) controls the ball during the second half against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Houston won 104-93. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Who else would it be?

Harden has been strong, and Chandler Parsons has been playing well, but the only player to focus on is Howard. He spent last season with the Lakers but, after a tumultuous ride, decided to sign with the Rockets during the 2013 offseason.

Since joining Houston, D12 has reminded the world of what has been senselessly denied: He's the best center in the NBA.

Despite leading the NBA in rebounding and ranking in the Top Five in both field-goal percentage and blocks per game, D-12 was viewed as the issue in L.A. The truth of the matter is that Howard was far from the person to blame. Despite battling injuries, he was one of the few players with consistently dominant outings.

Now, Howard will be granted the opportunity to dominate his former franchise.



HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 30:  Chandler Parsons #25 of the Houston Rockets stands on the court against the Charlotte Bobcats on October 30, 2013 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

The Lakers are currently 2-3 with problems that go deeper than the absence of superstar Kobe Bryant. The Rockets are 4-1 with an explosive offense and the best defensive player in the world at center.

It doesn't get any easier to break down than that.

Howard, Harden, Parsons and Jeremy Lin are all playing strong basketball for the Rockets. The Lakers, meanwhile, can't seem to find consistency from any player on the roster.

Pau Gasol and Steve Nash will make things interesting, and Henry has scored at a higher rate than the NBA community has ever seen from him. Unfortunately, the Lakers are also going on the road to play a powerhouse.

Houston will win, and it won't be that close of a game.

Rockets 115, Lakers 102