After rare break, Rockets ready to play

After rare break, Rockets ready to play
January 8, 2014, 11:15 am
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3-Pointers: Rockets set to face Lakers

While the new year can often present the chance to wipe the slate clean and start again, for the Rockets, that opportunity probably comes on Wednesday night when they host the Los Angeles Lakers.

It's already the eighth day of the new year, but Wednesday night's game will be just the second game of 2014 for Houston and it follows four days without a game.

It would also seem to be easy to get up for this one, considering it's Lakers in town, who, while playing without Kobe Bryant, already beat the Rockets in their first visit to Toyota Center in November.

"We haven't played in awhile, we've been going at each other during practice," Jeremy Lin said. "Now it's a chance to be a team again and play somebody else. We want to get as many wins as we can. We know the four, five, six seeds are all just clumped together, throw the seventh seed if you want. We just need to get separation."

"We had a little break," Lin said. "We talked about certain things and we're just trying to move on."

Houston won the only game they've played in the last week, a 102-100 victory over New York. But each of their last five games, have held one unfortunate similarity, poor starts. They've held the lead at halftime, in just one of those five games, and that was by only one point in their win against New York.

"For us we should be full of energy, they played last night, too," Lin said. "We should be the more energetic team. First and foremost, it's a mental thing more than anything else. At this point (in the season), your body will be tired and banged up. There's no team that's not feeling that way, so at that point it becomes more of a mental thing."

"We've had two hard practices and hopefully we'll get after it," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. "They are going to shoot a lot of threes, we need to contest them and get a hand up. They are going to get up and down the floor and they are going to try to press our defense early. We just have to contest them and get our and run ourselves."

Even with the long time between games, naturally the Rockets have some injury concerns, heading into the game. Chandler Parsons (knee) is a game-time decision, while Greg Smith (knee) said following Wednesday's shootaround he was ready to play on Wednesday. He's already missed 20 games this season with knee issues. Pat Beverley (hand) and Omer Asik (knee) remain out.