The last thing the Rockets might seem to need would be a game against the two-time reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers.

But they also said they cannot afford to think about the difficulty of a matchup, with every loss making it tougher to make up ground.

“We might want another game, but we just need games right now,” forward Luis Scola said. “We need to win games and we need to play better. We can’t afford to think just because it’s a tough matchup, we need to give up the game. We just need to play hard and play better.”

Chess game

The Lakers usually go small in the frontcourt with center Andrew Bynum out, but that can cause matchup problems for the Rockets and their efforts to play Brad Miller and Jordan Hill together off the bench.

“We start small with Chuck (Hayes) at the center spot to match up defensively,” coach Rick Adelman said. “Then you got to play Brad and Jordan and sometimes it’s tough to get those two guys in the game. That’s the way it is sometimes in this league.

“It seems more and more teams are playing small and coming at you. Sometimes it’s time for us to match that up. Sometimes, you have to play small.

“I’m trying to get guys in the game, trying to get some type of consistency. It’s been difficult. Guys have to stay mentally tough. We have to keep fighting through and find a way to match up and compete.”

Sputter starts

The Rockets begin December at 5-12, their sixth-worst record at this point of the season.

In 1967-68, their first season in San Diego, they were 4-22. In 1971-72 they were 6-18. In 1982-83 they were 2-12. In 1999-2000 and in 2005-06 they were 4-11.

In 2005-06, they lost the first game of December to fall to 4-12 before rebounding with a five-game winning streak.