The Rockets faced the Lakers in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs, and Houston’s small-ball test has been tested in a match against Los Angeles like never before, and there’s no shortage of rough battles on the battlefield. But, as Game 3 proved, the series is probably determined by each team’s superstar duo. A major man in Los Angeles was completely unstoppable Tuesday night.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis scored 62 points at 50% from the field on Tuesday 112-102 winsPunish the Rockets with paint. It wasn’t just Los Angeles star statlines that hurt the Rockets in Game 3. James converted seven dunks and a layup at the edge. He hit four shots including the pair through the Chase Down Variety. James was quiet in Game 1 as he tried to analyze Houston’s unique defenses. There was no reflection on Thursday. James ran wildly on the Rockets, giving the Lakers a 2-1 series lead.
“They’re a long team and we know that,” Rockets guard James Harden said in a post game. “You can’t leverage their strength to let them do what they do. You can’t slow down the pace and they can play them on the rim as they did in the second half.”
James was by no means a band, despite his amazing performance on Tuesday. Anthony Davis dominated the second half after the quiet first two quarters, ending the night with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Perhaps Houston can survive with both James and Davis performing impressive performances. But the dynamic duo of Los Angeles cannot be the Big Three. On Tuesday, Lahon Ronde formed the true trio.
Rondo led all bench players by 21 points and added three triples. I’ve seen Rondo reappear in the previous postseason, but his 2019-20 was really terrible. Rondo’s championship pedigree sparked unexpectedly in Game 3, slamming the Lakers lead James on the bench to a crucial moment.
“With Revlon [Davis] We’re going to score points, but that’s the other person we have to control,” said Harden. “Last night was Markieff Morris. Tonight was Rondo.”
The Rockets superstars came to an end in negotiations as James and Davis tortured their defenses. Harden faced three champions throughout the first three quarters, and Westbrook returned an efficient 30 points with 13-24 shoots. But Houston’s fear of joining the series has become a reality.
The oversized defense of Los Angeles causes havoc, Davis lives on the edge, and James claims himself as the best player on the planet. There are still blueprints for Rockets to win the series, but that may not be enough. In his 17-year career, James overlooked many teams compared to others. Rocket was another victim on Tuesday night.