Carlos Boozer Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers PJ Tucker Phoenix Suns
Kobe Bryant will hope to lead the Los Angeles Lakers back into the playoffsReuters

Dwight Howard, James Harden and the Houston Rockets begin their NBA campaign against Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers, who are looking to bounce back from one of their worst seasons in history.

The Lakers suffered their poorest season since moving to Los Angeles over half a century ago, and, despite having a healthy Bryant back in the lineup, the prospects don't look too great this time either, especially in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

Bryant remains the main man in LA, with Pau Gasol zooming to the Chicago Bulls, while veteran point guard Steve Nash has been ruled out for the season with a back injury, an injury which might see him call time on his exemplary career.

A new coach is also at the helm for the Los Angeles Lakers in the shape of Byron Scott and the former Laker believes the fact that everybody has already written off their chances this season might just work in their favour.

"I love the fact that pretty much everyone has written us off," he was quoted as saying by ESPN. "That's obviously fuel to the fire.

"I'm going to use that to talk to our players about how people are viewing us as a basketball team. I love the fact that everybody is doubting us."

Having a healthy Bryan back from injury will be step one towards getting back to the playoffs, after the Los Angeles Lakers superstar only managed to feature in six games last season.

"I'm excited to get back out there," said Bryant after a practice session on Monday. "I can't say I haven't missed the game. I've missed it so much."

Kobe certainly showed his usual skills in preseason, averaging 19 points and four assists in nearly 27 minutes in six games, and the 36-year-old insisted he is feeling as good as he has done in a while.

"I felt the way I thought I would, which is I felt normal," added Bryant. "I felt like I could do anything I wanted. My body, game after game, felt good, felt solid. It shouldn't be any different just because the regular season starts."

Another player keen to make an impression for the Lakers, especially in the first game, will be Jeremy Lin who was sent to Los Angeles by the Houston Rockets after two seasons in Texas.

Lin will start the game as the Lakers point guard, with the other candidate Ronnie Price ruled out through injury. The Lakers have several other injury casualties in Ryan Kelly, Xavier Henry, Nick Young and Wayne Ellington.

"I expect him to play well," Scott said of Lin. "I expect him to run the offense, handle the ball and do the things Jeremy Lin is capable of doing with knocking down shots, getting into the paint and being the catalyst and leader of the team on the offensive end."

At the other end there will be Howard, looking to get one over his team. The Rockets had a great regular season last campaign, going 54-28, but crashed out in the first round to the Portland Trail Blazers in six games.

While the Rockets are expected to seal a playoff spot comfortably enough again this season, having brought in Trevor Ariza and Jason Terry, the real challenge will lie in getting past those big teams in the big games when it comes to the business end of the season.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled to begin at 10.30 pm ET (8 am IST, 2.30 am GMT both Wednesday) with live coverage in India on Sony Six. The game can be watched via live streaming online by international viewers, including India, on NBA Online.

Viewers in the US can catch the action on TNT or via a live stream on TNT Overtime or Watch TNT. BT Sport will show the game live in the UK, while the action can also be watched via live streaming on Watch BT Sport Online.