Jeremy Lin Vs. Kobe Bryant: Can The Lakers Beat The Rockets Without Pau Gasol

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Jeremy Lin (R) signed a three-year $25 million offer sheet with Houston during the offseason. Reuters

After three big games in February, Jeremy Lin was starting to get national attention. He led the New York Knicks to three straight wins, going from the last man on the bench to the team’s starting point guard.

With the Knicks set to face the Los Angeles Lakers on national television, the media was looking to get Kobe Bryant’s take on “Linsanity.”

“What? No idea,” responded Bryant when asked about “Linsanity.” “I know who he is but I don’t really know what’s going on too much with them. I don’t even know what he’s done. Like, I have no idea what you guys are talking about.”

The future Hall of Famer quickly learned about Lin, when the second-year player dropped 38 points on L.A. in a New York victory.

Now, the two stars will meet again, with Lin in a different uniform. The Lakers will visit the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. The game is set to tip off at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch a live stream online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.

Lin and the Rockets enter the contest playing, perhaps, their best basketball of the 2012-2013 NBA season. They have won three out of their last four games, and have pulled back to .500 at 8-8.

Los Angeles is still struggling to find their way at 8-9. They recently lost to Dwight Howard’s former team at Staples Center. The Orlando Magic, with an unimpressive 5-10 record, left L.A. with a 10-point victory.

Pau Gasol struggled again in that contest, and was sat by Mike D’Antoni in the final minutes. Gasol has had trouble adjusting to his new head coach’s offensive system, with Bryant saying that it was time for his teammate to put on his “big boy pants.”

Injuries may also be playing a role in Gasol’s lack of production. The seven-footer will not play against Houston because of tendinitis in both knees. It’s unknown how long he will be out, but D’Antoni said it was his player’s choice to rest up.

"The biggest thing with him was that he was playing hurt and in this league you just can't do that," stated D’Antoni."I just didn't think he was running fluidly."

Antawn Jamison will get the start in Gasol’s place. He played ahead of Gasol, down the stretch, against Orlando.

Through 17 games, Gasol is putting up the worst numbers of his career. His 12.6 points per game are almost six less than his career average of 18.5.

Both Gasol and Howard have been less effective on offensive without a legitimate starting point guard. Steve Nash has been injured since the second game of the season, and backup Steve Blake is scheduled to miss six to eight weeks with abdominal surgery. D’Antoni’s offense is reliant upon a good point guard, and Darius Morris and Chris Duhon don’t have what it takes to run it efficiently.

Betting Line: Los Angeles -1.5, 212.5

Prediction: Without Gasol or a solid point guard, the Lakers will be forced to rely on Bryant even more. He’s leading the league in scoring, but the burden of carrying the offense has forced him to commit a lot of turnovers. If James Harden can have a good game, it might be difficult for the Lakers to leave Houston with a win.

Predicted Score: Houston 110, Los Angeles 99

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