With their Western Conference semifinal series tied 1-1, the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets will battle in Game 3 on Tuesday night. Both of these teams have been talking plenty of trash, making this series an entertaining one.
These two teams have totally different lineups. The Rockets play small with a bunch of shooters on the floor. On the other hand, the Lakers can use a lineup that towers over the Houston five.
This Rockets team shoots more threes than any team before them. James Harden leads the way, using his infamous step-back as much as he can.
Russell Westbrook has been struggling of late. He really hasn’t been the same player since returning from his quadriceps injury.
“Right now, I’m just running around,” Westbrook said. “I’ve got to look at film and figure out how to be effective.”
He is one guy on the team that the Lakers want to shoot. They are leaving him open for threes while doubling the other shooters on the floor. If he can’t hit those open shots, the Rockets won’t stand a chance in this series.
“He’s still working his way back, and he’ll play with a great intensity,” D’Antoni said. “He’ll always be aggressive. He needs to be aggressive, that’s why he’s Russell Westbrook, and that’s fine. He’ll work it out.”
One of the highlights of this team has been PJ Tucker. He gets the assignment of guarding the big men of the Lakers, and he holds his own. On the offensive side of the floor, Tucker has been money from the corner.
Davis, James Hard to Beat
When the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis play well, this Lakers team is near impossible to beat.
Davis had 34 points in the Game 2 win. If he is hitting jumpers, there is no way to slow him down.
“He was terrific,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Obviously trying to go quicker before double teams; we try to get the ball to him more on the move, and that allowed him to catch and go. He got going a little bit.”
James has a great shot at grabbing his fourth NBA championship this season. He continues to flirt with a triple-double in every game, scoring 28 points and adding 11 rebounds and nine assists in Game 2.
If Davis and James have their way, this series is going to be over soon. However, the Rockets have a style that is hard to beat if they are hitting shots.
The stars have to align for the Rockets to win this game. Harden has to hit shots, and Westbrook needs to play a lot better than he has been.
Their role players, Eric Gordon and Tucker, have to add to the success from behind the arc. But I just don’t believe the Rockets have it in them. After the Game 1 loss, the Lakers are locked in.
Take the Lakers to cover the five-point spread.