Rockets Vs. Lakers Game 1 Preview & TV Info: Western Conference Semifinals Battle Begins
Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Opposing basketball ideologies will clash as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

The Lakers hope to impose their will on a Rockets team that has leaned fully into the small-ball era, with zero regular rotation players standing taller than 6’8. By potentially starting out big, L.A. is of the belief they’ll force the Rockets to adapt to their style of play, rather than the other way around.

The Rockets’ game plan against the Lakers should be simple. James Harden and Russell Westbrook will look to control the pace early by either scoring themselves or finding opportunities for open 3-point shooters. How successful they are in this will decide how long the series goes, and whether or not the Rockets can force the upset.

Houston and L.A. met twice during the regular season and once during the seeding games. They split the two regular season matchups, with the Lakers loss coming on the day of the NBA trade deadline. It was the Rockets’ first game with their ultra small ball lineup.

Their meeting during the seeding games wound up as a big Lakers loss. L.A. has since broken out of their shooting funk, which should make for a different looking team in Game 1.

LeBron James — for one — is not worried about the drastic variance in styles between the two teams. “It’s five guys versus five guys. It’s basketball,” James said.

“It’s not the first time I’ve gone against five guys who shoot 3s in my basketball life. I’ve played against all different types of lineups since I started playing basketball when I was 9 years old. Nothing strange about it. It is what it is. We have to prepare for it and we have to be great every night in order to win. If we’re not, we’ll lose. It’s that simple.”

While James says it’s nothing new, Anthony Davis believes L.A. is prepared for such a unique game plan. “Their entire team is good with their hands. They like to strip the ball, be physical and get up under you,” Davis explained.

“A traditional big will kind of play off and try to use their length. With [the Rockets] their advantage is playing low to the ground and using their hands. It’s going to be different for all of us.”

I think the quicker the move the harder it is for them to get up under you and be physical. It’s going to be a good matchup for us. We’ve been prepping for these guys and will try to have the same result and move onto the next round.”

Game 1 will be the bubble debut for Rajon Rondo, who has been out for the entirety of the seeding games and first round with a fractured thumb and back spasms.

It will be interesting to see how head coach Frank Vogel uses him in such a vital situation despite having not played a game since March.

Since eliminating the Portland Trail Blazers last Saturday, the Lakers have had nearly a full week to prepare.

Lakers (0-0) vs. Rockets (0-0)

6:00 p.m. PT, Sep. 4, 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida
TV: ESPN
Radio: ESPN 710

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee

Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Dwight Howard, Markieff Morris, Rajon Rondo

Projected Rockets Starting Lineup:

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: James Harden
SF: Eric Gordon
PF: Robert Covington
C: PJ Tucker

Key Reserves: Danuel House Jr., Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, Ben McLemore

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Lakers News: Dennis Schroder Confirms Expected Return To Action With ‘I’m Back’ Post

The Los Angeles Lakers have been hampered by injuries all season long, but especially in recent weeks when they’ve been forced…

Lakers News: LeBron James Wants Fans At Games Despite ‘Courtside Karen’ Incident

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is ravaging Los Angeles County and the surrounding…

Lakers Rumors: JaVale McGee Exercises Player Option For 2020-21 Season

JaVale McGee was an important role player for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2019-20 regular season. However…

Jamal Murray Believes No One Can Beat Nuggets If He And Nikola Jokic Are At Their Best

The 2019-20 NBA season has been one of the most exciting in a number of years due to parity across the league…