LeBron James won't play against the Houston Rockets today as his groin injury still troubles him. In fact, he won't get back to practice until next week, according to Yahoo.com. They speculate that Lakers won't rush him back into the game and thereafter when he's ready to play, he'll make his comeback. But the Los Angeles Lakers need a win. Fortunately, they did rather well recently, winning four of their last six games. However, while LeBron's been off the court they dropped from fourth place in the Western Conference to a tie at eighth place with Utah Jazz. They really don't want to slip any further down.

LeBron missed playing in the win against Oklahoma City Thunder

LeBron missed out on the game against Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, which sends a message about the young team. It shows they can play without him, but they did drop 128 points to Thunder despite the win. That's way too high a number of giveaway points for them to really hurt the Rockets, winnersandwhiners.com point out. However, that may not materialize today as Lakers enter the Rockets game on a high after beating Thunder. Also, bear in mind that Rockets suffered a shock loss to the Brooklyn Nets on their home turf.

While Rockets may feel the pressure to perform after that loss, it's always easier to go into a game on a high. Lakers are going into the game against Rockets looking for a third consecutive win. Rockets, on the other hand, will be looking at the third win in five games that is not a consecutive win. Potentially, there's a psychological difference.

With LeBron off the court, the Lakers' team's getting by

The young Lakers team's getting without LeBron on the court, but it's a long way to navigate to the playoffs.

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While Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart played a great game on Thursday, as did Ivica Zubac, they will come up against MVP candidate James Harden, NBA.com noted. The Lakers' team will recall that last month, Harden hit them for a 50-point triple-double. Without LeBron, that could potentially happen again.

Over on Twitter, Mike Lynch noted that "James Harden is on pace to shatter Michael Jordan's record for Points Per 100 Possessions in a season per @bball_ref (as far back as 1973-74 when possessions can most reliably be estimated)." Those larger than life figures could weigh heavily on the Lakers right now.

Rockets and Lakers

If you look at the recent games, Lakers seem to struggle mainly in their defense. Now, as Rockets really present a strong offense, that's bad news for the Lakers. It means they will have no option but to try their best on defense but push harder on offense.

This might work if Lonzo Ball picks up the type of play [VIDEO] LeBron would usually bring to the game or at least continues to be pivotal in opening up opportunities for the other players to wrap up the play.

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