The Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Saturday with tipoff at 5 p.m. PT, it has been announced. The potential series-clinching game will be televised on ESPN and can be streamed via the ESPN app.
L.A. — after losing Game 1 against the Rockets — have bounced back in dominating fashion to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. In a similar fashion to the team’s first-round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, smothering defense and timely shooting have helped gain a significant advantage.
While no lead is truly safe against the Rockets, the Lakers simply need to win one more game to ensure a spot in the Western Conference Finals. It would mark their first appearance in the penultimate round since 2010.
The story of the Conference Finals has been not only the incredible performances of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but also production from Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris and Alex Caruso, who have helped neutralize the offensive attack of the Rockets.
In Games 2 through 4, Rondo is averaging 14 points, five rebounds and 8.7 assists, while also grabbing a total of 10 steals thus far in the second round.
Game 4 was the first time during the matchup that L.A. had complete and obvious control over the Rockets, as the results of the first three games were in doubt at some point during the fourth quarter.
While Houston did close a wide gap during the final minutes, it was clear the Lakers would hold on to win.
Vogel believes Lakers role players don’t get enough credit
The narrative surrounding L.A. all season was that their roster outside of the two superstars in Davis and James was rather lackluster. They’ve dispelled that in this series, and head coach Frank Vogel was confident it would happen that way.
“We’ve got two big guns in Anthony and LeBron, and I don’t think the rest of these guys get enough credit. We have a very, very deep team,” he said. “Guys not in the rotation that would be playing big minutes on other teams. It’s a team-first team.
“That’s what I love about our group here. Rondo, Alex, I was proud of Talen Horton-Tucker coming in and getting his first playoff minutes and playing really well. He’s got a bright future with us and he gave us a big lift in that first half. Just a good team win.”
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