After an outstanding defensive performance in their first game against the Houston Rockets, it could’ve been easy for the Los Angeles Lakers to experience some drop off. But with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way, they didn’t just replicate it, they surpassed that effort.
The Lakers held the Rockets to just 39.2% shooting and 30% from 3-point range as they completely dominated them in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the 117-100 final score might suggest.
The Lakers never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 30 points on the night in a performance that may have surpassed their first one at the Toyota Center.
James was outstanding offensively, finishing with 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Of course, his biggest highlight was a 3-pointer in the first half where James turned away to look at the Lakers bench before the ball went through the net.
He explained that was to answer a bet with Dennis Schroder, who told him to wager “a Benjamin” on the attempt.
Davis set the tone again defensively with five blocks, his fifth consecutive game with at least three, while also adding in 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and 10 rebounds. Though the Lakers weren’t able to force as many Rockets turnovers in the second meeting, they still totaled 12 blocks and 10 steals as a team, and out-rebounded the Houston 55-42.
Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell each finished with 14 points while Kyle Kuzma also contributed a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Marc Gasol had a solid all-around outing with five points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks.
Alex Caruso was one of two Lakers who failed to score, but still added six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Lakers established their dominance from the tip and basically put the game away in the first quarter by jumping out to a 35-14 lead and 71-48 advantage at halftime. In addition to their defensive dominance, the Lakers were also running on all cylinders offensively, knocking down 14 3-pointers at a 43.8% rate and assisting on 26 of their 42 baskets.
The Lakers again held Rockets star James Harden in check as he finished with just 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting. Christian Wood led the Rockets with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers now complete the second half of a back-to-back as they head to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder before returning home for a pair of games.
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