Los Angeles was the top seed in the Western Conference going into the playoffs. They were expected to advance past this series and have a chance to do it with ease after losing only one game.
Lakers Playing Well
The duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James is hard to beat. Houston has had its hands full in this series trying to contain them.
Davis scored 29 points and added 12 rebounds in the Game 4 win. James had 16 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists, finishing just one assist away from a triple-double.
However, the Lakers didn’t close out the game the way they had hoped. They had a large lead that they let slip away late in the fourth quarter. It was a five-point game with about a minute left before a corner three by Alex Caruso sealed the deal.
“Obviously, we’ve got to be better. We got to close out games the right way,” James said. “We get a big lead, we’ve got to be able to continue to defend and to continue to put the pressure on their defense and not allow them to get back in the game like we did.”
If they can come out and get a win in Game 5, they might be able to catch a little break before the Western Conference finals. The Nuggets and Clippers are moving on to Game 6 of their series on Sunday.
Rockets in a Hole
The Rockets are in a bad spot against this Lakers team. It is going to be a challenge to come back against a team led by Davis and James.
James Harden has to be better. He has struggled in moments during the playoffs, and that includes Game 4. He was 2-of-11 from the field, including only 1-of-6 from three.
The only chance that the Rockets have is their ability to shoot from deep. But if Harden isn’t hitting those shots, the chances are very slim.
“We know we’re in a big hole now, but the next game is the game we’ve got to win,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’ll go out, and if we lay it on the line like the way we did in the fourth quarter, we’ll be fine.”
Russell Westbrook also has to continue to be aggressive as he was in Game 5 for the Rockets to succeed.
This series is all but over. I don’t see the possibility of a comeback by the Rockets. Harden hasn’t shown the ability to show up in critical games in the postseason.
James will take the Lakers to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 10 years.
The Lakers are the favorite with the spread at -6.5. I’m going to ride with Los Angeles and take it to cover.