The Lakers have the Rockets on the ropes.
When Anthony Davis demanded a trade from the New Orleans
Pelicans in February of 2019, he set his sights on a new team that would offer
him championship aspirations.
So Davis bided his time, patiently finishing off that season
on the bench before being traded to Los Angeles to join forces with LeBron
James. Davis knew he would get opportunities to play in the postseason with the
Lakers, and now he’s one win away from reaching the Western Conference Finals
for the first time in his seven-year career.
Davis led the Lakers with 29 points, as they defeated the
Rockets 110-100 in a wire-to-wire victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference
semifinals on Thursday night.
The Lakers can eliminate the Rockets and end their season in
Game 5 on Saturday night.
After losing the rebound battle against the undersized
Rockets in Game 1, the Lakers have dominated the glass in each of their last
three victories. Game 4 was more of the same as the Lakers doubled up the
Rockets in rebounds, 52-26, including 12-to-1 on the offensive glass.
For the third consecutive game, the Rockets shot better than
40 percent from the three-point line. Entering the series, Houston was a
perfect 16-0 when shooting greater than 40 percent from beyond the arc. They
have now lost three straight while still remaining hot from three.
The Lakers improved their free-throw shooting between Game 3
and 4. The Lakers finished 15-of-16 (94 percent) from the charity stripe in the
The Lakers made a change in the starting lineup for the
first time in the series, opting to start Markieff Morris instead of center
The move worked wonders as the Lakers had arguably their
best first quarter defensively of the series, holding the Rockets to just 22
The defense only got better from there as the Lakers
stretched the lead to as many as 18 points in the second quarter, holding
Houston to just 19 points in the frame.
The Lakers kept their foot on the gas in the third quarter,
increasing the lead to as many as 23 points before they staved off a furious
Rockets comeback late in the game.
Led by a 19-2 run, and fueled by five straight Lakers turnovers,
the Rockets got within five points, 105-100 with 50 seconds remaining. However,
Alex Caruso hit a three from the corner with 34.6 seconds remaining that put
the dagger in Houston’s comeback attempt, and sealed the victory for Los
Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with 25 points. Former MVP James Harden had his worst shooting game of the series, going 2-for-11 for just 21 points.
LeBron James fell one assist shy of another playoff triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists.
Caruso led the bench scorers with 16 points off the bench. Rajon Rondo had another stellar game with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists off the bench. Even Talen Horton-Tucker saw his first action of the postseason, scoring five points in seven minutes off the bench.
There was controversy prior to tip-off as reports surfaced
that Rockets reserve guard Danuel House Jr. was under investigation by the NBA
for allegedly allowing a female COVID-19 testing official into his hotel room
for an overnight stay.
House has not played in the series since Game 2, when he
scored 13 points in 27 minutes off the bench.
Source: NBC Los Angeles