Following a close overtime loss to the Warriors on Monday night, the Los Angeles Lakers traveled to Houston to take on the hottest team in the country in the Rockets. Riding a 14-game winning streak, the Rockets expected nothing less than a win at home; however, they suffered a loss far more impactful than that inflicted by the Lakers with Chris Paul leaving the game injured. With the win, the Lakers improve to 11-18 and tie the Clippers for 10th in the west. Despite the loss, Houston maintained their NBA best 25-5 record.

Can Rockets continue dominance without CP3?

Chris Paul left the game limping early in the fourth quarter and would not return. Craig Ackerman of Houston Rockets TV initially reported that he was dealing with "left leg soreness" and the current extent of his injury is unknown. Chris Paul has been one half of Houston's one-two punch with James Harden this season, mostly leading the second team with his leadership and playmaking abilities.

Harden could not carry the Rockets to a victory despite 51 points on 15-27 shooting. He's averaging 31.3 points and 9 assists per game this season in hopes of bettering his second-place finish to Russell Westbrook in last year's MVP race. His MVP caliber performances this season have not gone unnoticed, but if CP3's injury turns out to be substantial, can Harden carry these Rockets to that #1 seed they currently possess?

There is a good chance that they will finish among the top three in the western conference by the end of the season with Harden, Trevor Ariza, and perennial 6th Man of the Year candidate Eric Gordon. They still look like the team that could end the Golden State Warriors conference stranglehold. The main impact of Paul's absence will be lower efficiency from the Rocket's second unit and a slightly less fluid offense in general.

Kyle Kuzma is the real deal

Without Ben Simmons, Kyle Kuzma would undoubtedly be the top candidate for Rookie of the Year and is outshining his rookie teammate and #2 draft pick Lonzo Ball. The Lakers drafted him with this year's 27th pick that they acquired from Brooklyn Nets. He's excelled recently with three straight 20+ point games against three of the best teams in the NBA (Rockets, Warriors, and Cavaliers). His 38-point performance against Houston is a career high, shooting 12-17 overall and 7-10 from beyond the arc in a season where he's excelled from three, shooting over 38 percent.