The Houston Rockets travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers at the Staples Center in downtown LA on Thursday as they start their stretch run following the All-Star break.
Houston, currently fifth in the Western Conference, behind the Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers, are a talented side, but in making moves to try and get the better of the Warriors, sacrificed some crucial depth.
With James Harden leading the way, the Rockets can play hero ball and pull out some big victories, but that lack of depth could prove fatal to their post-season chances.
How the Warriors and the Rockets shape up currently will be on display on Saturday as Houston travels up the west coast of California to face Golden State at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Rockets then host the Atlanta Hawks to start the week, before returning to the site of the All-Star game in Charlotte and a match-up with the Hornets.
There's a palpable sense that Houston rather outthought itself in their off-season dealings. That said, the addition of Kenneth Faried was a smart move and any team with Harden and Chris Paul is one that should not be overlooked.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs are just a game back in the standings and seventh overall in the Western Conference.
DeMar DeRozan returns to Toronto for the first time since his stunning trade to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard when the Spurs return to the court for the first time after the All-Star break, in what should be a fascinating contest.
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