The Los Angeles Lakers defeated to the Houston Rockets, 117-109, tying their best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals matchup at one game apiece. They remained undefeated when wearing their Black Mamba city edition jersey in the playoffs.
It was a defensive showcase to begin the game with both teams stringing together several stops. Anthony Davis opened up the scoring for Los Angeles by hitting multiple contested shots, giving them a small lead midway through the period.
The Lakers made a concerted effort to double James Harden at the top of the key, living with the rest of the Rockets handling the offense. Markieff Morris provided a major lift off the bench by hitting four triples, giving Los Angeles a 36-20 lead after one.
The second quarter featured another defensive stand for the Lakers as they forced a few turnovers to fuel their transition offense and expand their lead. However, the Rockets fought back with some timely baskets, notably from Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker that got them back in the game.
Rajon Rondo had a better showing in his second game back, pushing the pace off misses and getting the team into early offense. After withstanding a run from Harden, the Lakers responded and executing on both ends to help them maintain a solid 67-51 lead heading into the half.
Houston got off to a hot start to begin the third as they went on a quick 9-0 run fueled by threes from Gordon and Tucker that forced a quick L.A. timeout. The Rockets continued to apply pressure on the Laker defense with their ball movement, hitting from beyond the arc to great success.
With LeBron James on the bench, Houston reclaimed the lead behind their stifling paint defense and outside shooting. After allowing 41 points in the quarter, the Lakers found themselves down 92-90.
James was much more assertive to begin the final period, driving hard to the basket for a couple of finishes and throwing down a lob from Alex Caruso to hand the lead back to the Lakers. They found easy scoring opportunities by generating turnovers and pushing the ball, but the Rockets hung around throughout.
The Lakers found more breathing room thanks to James and Davis operating in the paint, and the Rockets’ attempt at a comeback fell short.
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