With the Houston Rockets’ backs against the wall, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to dominate on both ends in Game 5 and close them out in arguably their most impressive playoff showing.
From the jump, the Lakers were sharp in their execution and were able to not only execute offensively but simultaneously stifle the Rockets offense. LeBron James was the tone-setter early, using his size and strength to bully his way to the rim.
James was also disruptive defensively, making his presence felt on rotations and at the rim where he was able to contest shots. James finished the night with a double-double (29 points, 11 rebounds) to go along with seven assists and two steals in just 31 minutes.
The story of the night was Los Angeles’ 3-point shooting as they were able to outperform Houston at their own game, knocking down a franchise-record 19 threes to the Rockets’ 13. It was a sight to see Laker role players step up when needed, knocking down shots to keep the Rockets from ever getting too close.
Making his second consecutive start, Markieff Morris was a major boost early for L.A. as he knocked down a couple of triples and bothered Houston’s shooters with his size closing out. Morris scored 16 points on a hot 6-of-7 shooting, including draining all four of his attempts from downtown.
Danny Green had his best game of the series, nailing four 3-pointers of his own while doing his best to slow down James Harden throughout the night. The veteran contributed 14 points and was a team-best +35 in only 25 minutes.
Kyle Kuzma’s growth throughout the postseason has been an encouraging sign for the Lakers and his improvement on the defensive end is what has stuck out, but Game 5 saw the normal scoring prowess fans have become accustomed to. Kuzma led the bench with 17 points and added four rebounds.
Overall, it was an impressive team-wide effort on both ends and it appears they are peaking at the right time.
What’s next for Lakers
By eliminating the Rockets in five games, the Lakers bought themselves at least one extra rest as the L.A. Clippers and Denver Nuggets series will tip off Game 6 on Sunday.
The Clippers are up 3-2 and are widely expected to be the Lakers opponent, but the Nuggets have already overcome one 3-1 series deficit.
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