Playing on the frontend of a back-to-back, the Los Angeles Lakers came out with the same inspired effort they had in Sunday’s meeting with the Houston Rockets, resulting in a 117-100 victory to sweep the mini series at the Toyota Center.
Much like the last game, the Lakers got off to a quick start by getting into the passing lanes and knocking down shots to go up 14-5. LeBron James hit a flurry of jumpers and two Anthony Davis blocks on James Harden eventually extended the Los Angeles lead to 18 points midway through the first.
The Laker defense smothered the Rockets any time they tried to get into the paint while also making sure they contested any shots out on the perimeter. Head coach Frank Vogel trotted out an all-bench unit and they actually put Los Angeles up 35-14 after one.
Talen Horton-Tucker and Montrezl Harrell led the way at the top of the second as each came up with putback dunks, and James added to the fun after draining a corner three and turning to the bench before it went through.
Although Houston started to crawl back into the contest, L.A. was able to respond each time down the floor.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope started to heat up after knocking down consecutive 3s, while another James three pushed the Laker lead to 28. The offensive execution in the final minutes was a sight to behold and L.A. went into halftime up 71-48. It represented their most points scored in the first half this season.
Despite a couple of turnovers, Davis was able to keep the large advantage by using his size and length in the paint. Mirroring the first half, Houston did not have an answer for Los Angeles on either end and were unable to mount any kind of run.
With such a large lead, the Laker intensity began to wane as they allowed several open 3s to Eric Gordon and others. Davis came up with a highlight block, and the team walked into the fourth up 97-71.
Alex Caruso was able to reenergize the Lakers with his play defensively, keeping the Rockets from ever getting remotely close. The bench unit kept up the defensive effort which allowed them to remain in control and ultimately come away with another impressive win.
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