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Looking ahead

November 09, 2008|Mark Heisler

Houston at Lakers, tonight, 6:30, Fox Sports West

What do the Lakers' first four opponents have in common?

None was over .500.

If it's time for a bigger test, they're in luck, with the Houston Rockets here tonight.

Challengers don't come much bigger with 7-6 Yao Ming, left, 6-7 260-pound Ron Artest and a sturdy supporting cast that includes physical players Luis Scola and Carl Landry.

The X factor is Tracy McGrady, coming off arthroscopic knee surgery that limited him to 12 minutes in the preseason, obliging the Rockets to learn to play together as they go.

This is the third of a five-game trip for the Rockets that began, agonizingly enough, when Portland's Brandon Roy beat them with a 30-foot three-pointer at the buzzer.

After two lackluster efforts against Denver and the Clippers, the Lakers may need an opponent they respect, but in any case, there's one here.

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