Lakers vs Rockets
Photo Credit: NewsOpener

Game Preview: Lakers vs Rockets – Round 2 – Game 4


(#1) Los Angeles Lakers (6-2) | (#4) Houston Rockets (5-5)


The Lakers took a 2-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets after another dominating performance by LeBron James and Anthony Davis.


Just like in the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Los Angeles Lakers dropped the opening game in this series, this time to the Houston Rockets. Also, like the first series against the Blazers, L.A. was able to bounce back with back-to-back wins to take the series lead. Can the Purple and Gold, led by LeBron James, do the same thing to Houston and go up 3-1?


Lakers vs Rockets
Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

The Lakers turnaround after their game one defeat seemed to be fueled by the urgency they played with on the defensive side of the ball. James, Davis, and Rajon Rondo have been the Lakers catalysts for the outstanding play the past two games.

The Rockets came out aggressive to start Game 1 in their upset victory, but have yet to find an answer for Davis, who has been dominating. Houston’s lack of size has hurt them, and when they have tried to force Davis out of the paint, he has been able to nail his mid-range jumper.

As for Los Angeles, they seemed to have found what they want to do on both ends of the floor. On offense, it is barbeque chicken (have James run the ball through Davis and go to work off of that). James has also been more aggressive early in the games forcing the Rockets to pay more attention to him as a scorer compared to a facilitator.

Rondo has also been one of the Lakers’ best players in the past two games. He has gotten it done on both ends of the floor while making sure his teammates were all involved in the offense. On defense, he has been a thorn in Russell Westbrook’s side in games two and three. Lakers fans are now seeing “Playoff Rondo” for the first time in a Lakers uniform.


Anthony Davis has been everything the Lakers wanted and more in this playoff series.


Lakers vs Rockets
Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Davis has been the dominating factor in both Lakers’ wins. He is a match-up problem for Houston and has dominated inside and out. He has been, arguably, the best player on the floor all series, and that says a lot since LeBron has been playing his best ball of the year.

For the Rockets to defend Davis, they need to stop using Harden. P.J. Tucker for the job. He has done an admirable job, but he isn’t the answer. He’s too small. Tyson Chandler is a glorified towel wavier at this point in his career and has yet to see the floor. The Rockets have no answer for the Lakers size upfront. The Lakers know it and will use it to their advantage.

Los Angeles has won the last two games with their offensive prowess and size. But they also seem to be the more mentally tough team in the series. This is where Lebron and Rondo, in-particular are vital. They’ve won titles and been through some of the NBA’s most challenging playoff battles. Houston doesn’t have that same type of leadership on the court or with their head coach, Mike D’Antoni.


What should be the Lakers game plan be heading into Game 4?



Lakers vs Rockets
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers need to continue to work from their inside-outside game. If they continue to start with that, things will open up for them, which will lead to more open three-point opportunities.

On defense, the Lakers will need to attack the Rockets and continue to force Harden to his right. When they’ve done that, he has struggled. They also haven’t allowed him to get them in foul trouble by using their bodies to draw contact. Much of the same gameplan should get the Lakers another win.



The Lakers play against Houston in Game 4 tonight, with tip-off at 6 pm. You can watch the game on TNT and Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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