After losing in disappointing fashion to the Houston Rockets in Game 1, the Los Angeles Lakers got their revenge and took Game 2 to even up the Western Conference Semifinals.
The beginning of the first quarter was a defensive battle as both teams made the other work for their looks, but Anthony Davis got it going early by using his size and length to finish over the top.
Davis would finish the night with a team-high 34 points to go along with 10 rebounds and one block.
Markieff Morris was massive boost off the bench as he knocked down his first four triples to help push the Laker lead to 16 after one. Morris finished with 16 points and five rebounds in just 23 minutes on the floor.
The second quarter saw Houston figure out Los Angeles’ defense as they decided to drive to the rim with the latter going small. Despite that, L.A. continued to push back thanks to LeBron James who took it upon himself to get to the rim and score right at the basket.
James finished with a near triple-double (28 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists) while also providing stellar defense (4 steals, 2 blocks).
Despite starting the third with a 16-point lead, the Lakers quickly saw it evaporate as the Rockets caught fire from beyond the arc and went on a 14-0 run. The momentum had clearly shifted and it looked the like game was going to get out of hand as Houston found little resistance when they moved the ball and got quality looks from distance.
JaVale McGee and Dion Waiters were forced to miss the remainder of the game due to ankle and groin injuries, respectively, opening up more minutes for Rajon Rondo. The veteran point guard, playing in just his second game back, appeared more comfortable running the offense and finished the night with a solid line of 10 points, nine assists and five steals in 29 minutes.
The Lakers were down 92-90 heading into the fourth, but James stepped up by making plays on both ends to give his team the lead for good. Houston kept it close down the wire, but Los Angeles was able to hold on for the much-needed victory.
What’s next for Lakers
Head coach Frank Vogel and the Lakers will have plenty to talk about despite their victory as the Rockets were close to stealing Game 2 and taking a 2-0 series lead.
Los Angeles appeared committed to doubling Harden as soon as he passed half court, but Houston’s shooters were able to take advantage of it and enjoyed numerous open looks. Harden finished with 27 points, but his passing was clearly an issue and could be something to look out for in Game 3.
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