Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals saw some of the concerns the Houston Rockets would present the Los Angeles Lakers come to fruition as they had a field day with their drive-and-kick offense.
However, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was quick to adjust by rolling with a smaller lineup that featured Anthony Davis at center, and the team never looked back as they went on to win the next four games.
Games 4 and 5 were formalities in some regard as the Lakers had demonstrated that they were clearly the superior team. The Rockets had no answer for Davis, who was able to use his size and length to affect both ends of the floor, resulting in 25.4 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.
The Lakers didn’t trail in either of the final two games against the Rockets. “It gives a little bit more confidence, especially with the way we played offensively,” Davis said of that dominance.
“It gives our shooters and role players a lot more confidence going into this next series. And defensively, the way we played: guys being on a string, guys talking, guys covering for each other.
“It just gives us a lot more confidence to put pressure on the ball, knowing someone is going to have your back. The way we finished the last two games in this series is very impactful and it’s going to help us in the next round.”
The defensive effort from Davis and the rest of L.A. was championship caliber and the offense has finally picked up. These are all good signs for them going forward and them peaking now bodes well for their title hopes.
Davis was never concerned about rounding back into form
It can be argued that the 2019-20 hiatus hurt the Lakers the most because the team was riding a wave of momentum after stellar showings in March.
Their play in the bubble was worrying, but they have since turned it around and now look like their old selves. Davis’ faith in Los Angeles to regain their form never wavered despite the circumstances.
“I mean, obviously the four months were tough, and it took a while for us to get back, even through the seeding games we weren’t looking like ourselves,” expressed Davis.
“But we just trust the process and kept trusting in each other, getting in the gym every day and fixing the kinks we lost through that four months, fine-tuning everything. Now we’re in a great rhythm on both ends of the floor.
“We knew that we were still one of the better teams in the league and we can go out and compete against anybody. We just had to fix a couple things and get back into our rhythm of playing Laker basketball.”
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