The Los Angeles Lakers took a 2-1 lead over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals after a 112-102 win in a physical Game 3 showing. LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 62 points, while Rajon Rondo exploded for 21 points, nine assists, and two rebounds.
L.A. triumphed thanks to a strong finish, outscoring Houston 30-20 in the fourth quarter. But it cost them many knocks and bruises, with Davis particularly roughed up playing center for big chunks of the game.
With 4:37 left in the final period, the Lakers All-Star collided with Rockets forward Robert Covington who elbowed him in the ribs while falling to the ground. Luckily, Davis was able to continue and said he would be ready to play in Game 4. “I’m fine, got a day to recover,” he said.
“It’s a physical game, especially in the playoffs. Intensity goes up, physicality goes up. Especially with this team being small, they try to use their physicality a lot more. We want to be physical back, but at the end of the day I’m fine.”
Covington had to leave the court as he suffered a head injury during the collision. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni revealed in the postgame interview the forward got hit in the nose and was heavily bleeding but did not offer any updates on his status ahead of Game 4.
Vogel: More Lakers deserve All-Defensive recognition
Davis has notched his second All-Defensive selection as the NBA announced on Tuesday he was voted among this season’s top five defenders alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Marcus Smart, and Ben Simmons.
Despite L.A. owning the third-best defense in the regular season, no other Laker received the recognition. And head coach Frank Vogel disagrees with the verdict, highlighting the impact his other players — particularly James in his 17th NBA season — have had on the defensive end this season.
“I think what ‘Bron does with quarterbacking us, has really surprised me in the first year as his coach,” Vogel said. “What he’s able to do on the ball but also quarterbacking the action, he deserves recognition.”
Vogel also mentioned Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso among those who he thought should have been considered for an All-Defensive Team selection.
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