The Houston Rockets will face the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday (9 p.m. ET, TNT), but will do so without a few key players.
The Lakers say that LeBron will be out tonight against Houston due to soreness in his groin. Frank Vogel hinted at something along these lines last night.— Bill Oram (@billoram) August 6, 2020
As expected, Russell Westbrook is out for Rockets tonight against the Lakers, Mike D'Antoni said.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) August 6, 2020
James isn't the only player missing Thursday's showdown. Reserve guard Alex Caruso will also sit because of spasms on the left side of his neck. Anthony Davis, Markieff Morris, Dwight Howard and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were all listed as probable with a variety of maladies, and will ultimately play
Westbrook played in Houston's last game, a 110-102 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. He made just 5 of 12 free throws and finished with 15 points and nine assists to snap a streak of 36 straight games with at least 20 points.
The Lakers wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference on Monday night and lost their last game, a 105-86 defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder in which L.A. shot just 35.2% overall.
Houston has fared well this season against the NBA's elite, going 11-6 against teams in the top 10 in Net Rating and are 8-6 against the top three teams in each conference. So far this season, the Rockets and Lakers have split their season series, 1-1.
Westbrook is averaging 27.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game this season for Houston.