The confident Los Angeles Lakers can take a commanding 3-1 series lead in game four Thursday night from the bubble at Walt Disney World. The Houston Rockets were dominant in game one but the Lakers have taken control with two straight decisive wins. They covered the 6.5 points spread in game two with a 117-109 win and made a bigger statement with a 112-102 victory in game three on Tuesday night to easily cover the 4.5 point line.. Will James Harden and his Rockets find a way to cool down LeBron and AD and even the series?
James, Davis Propel Lakers to 2-1 Lead
The Los Angeles Lakers are in control of this series. They have rebounded masterfully from their game one blunder with two dazzling offensive performances in the next two battles. L.A. has converted on 56% and 55% of their field goals respectively in their last two clashes.
LeBron James was brilliant again in game three, sinking 36 points and added seven assists. The three-time NBA Champion is a sizzling 23 for 41 from the field in his last two games and is sporting an average of 28 points on a 54% clip in this series.
The Rockets have not been able to contain Anthony Davis in this series. The 6-foot-10 power forward has earned a double-double in all three games led by 26 points and a whopping 15 boards in game three. Davis is having a spectacular playoff, posting a double-double in six of the eight games for an average of 29.3 points and 10.8 rebounds.
Rajon Rondo was the Lakers' unsung hero in game three with 21 points on an 8 for 11 effort from the field. The 15-year veteran is averaging 13 points in this series and if he can produce at this clip in game four I don’t see how the Lakers lose.
The Lakers are starting to illustrate why they won eight more games than the Rockets this season. James and Davis are thriving and their size advantage is apparent. Los Angeles ranked 11th in the association with 113.4 points in regular-season play. They limited opponents to 107.6 points, good for fourth overall.
Rockets Look to Avoid Third Straight Loss
The Houston Rockets’ convincing 112-97 game one triumph is now a distant memory. They are in must-win mode after struggling to contain the Lakers’ star-power in the last two clashes of this series. Houston also lost two straight games in round one as well but in a radically different scenario as they were up 2-0 in the set before losing the next two games.
James Harden has played well the entire series. The Beard collected 33 points along with nine boards and nine assists on Tuesday night and has now shot at least 47% in each contest of this series. The 31-year old point guard is averaging a solid 32 points and seven assists in this semifinal.
Russell Westbrook came through with an improved performance in game three, registering 30 points along with eight rebounds. The veteran point guard was sloppy at times in the first two clashes with a combined 12 turnovers but only committed three on Tuesday night.
Eric Gordon cooled off with a 2 for 9 shooting performance after logging a combined 27 points in games one and two. The 31-year old did collect a series-best four assists in game three.
The Rockets have actually been more effective from beyond the arc than the Lakers in this series but it is not enough. They are being outplayed in the paint and can’t compete with the Lakers' size underneath the bucket. Houston scored an average of 117.2 points in the regular season, placing them second overall. They allowed an average of 114.8 points, pegging them 23rd in the NBA.
The Houston Rockets are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games following an ATS loss.
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games on one day of rest.
The Los Angeles Lakers are:
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games playing on one day of rest.
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.