Visiting the 4-1
Hill is the better rebounder but isn't as skilled offensively.
Whether D'Antoni puts Gasol, Kaman or Hill on Howard, the Lakers could have their hands full with the veteran center.
Gasol has had success in the past with his height. The bigger issue is what Howard can do on the defensive end, protecting the basket for Houston.
Given the Rockets' shooting depth, double-teaming Howard is typically a bad idea.
Of course D'Antoni may choose to send Howard, a notoriously poor free-throw shooter, to the line if he or the Rockets are having offensive success.
The Lakers need Gasol to be a significant inside presence against Houston.
His ability to hit the three-point shot and get to the line makes him a difficult cover.
If the Lakers choose to give extra attention on the floor to Harden, that just opens up a long list of shooters like
Where the Lakers have struggled most is in the backcourt with starters
If the Lakers' shooters aren't hitting, they could be in quick trouble against the Rockets.
Even a lead isn't safe against Houston as their outside game gives the Rockets a chance to make up a double-digit deficit in little time.
The battle Thursday won't quite be as Earth-shattering as Howard's return to
The Lakers are a significant underdog Thursday but it would be quite a big win if they manage to get it.