The first game of a Western Conference semifinal series between the Rockets and Lakers is Friday night. The Houston Rockets snuck past the OKC Thunder in seven games, ending in a wild finish. A block from James Harden helped to put the finishing touches on a game.
The goal for the Rockets is to win this series and another en route to the Finals. But the size of the Lakers may make things a bit tough for them.
The Lakers have been off for almost a week while completing the gentleman’s sweep of the Trail Blazers. This rest will undoubtedly pay dividends for LeBron James, participating in the playoffs for the 14th time in his 17 NBA seasons.
The Lakers need to avoid falling into any traps or lulls with this series, as it may be enticing to look ahead to the next round. They have a very tough team in front of them, one that proves heart could matter a lot more than height.
The spread for Game 1 favors Los Angeles by 6.5 points. The over/under is set at 225.5.
Rockets Trying to Take Down Big Dogs
There is no doubt that the Lakers are the “it” team in the West, and will be tough to beat. They have got a crazy size advantage at practically all five positions, so Houston’s guys will need to work for rebounds and get a little closer on their shot contests. They need to be more steady and quick with switches on defense.
They fire threes at a rate no team ever has as Coach D’Antoni’s philosophy of threes and lay-ups alive and well. It has gotten them this far, and it will need to continue to work. They have more shooters than the Lakers, but the lack of size will remain a problem. Tyson Chandler is glued to that bench.
Jeff Green and PJ Tucker, along with Robert Covington, will need to be true bigs in this series.
Lakers Look For 1-0 Lead
They dropped Game 1 to Portland before winning the next four. Falling to Houston, though, would be a lot more dangerous. The size advantage they have is a little different this round from the one they had last time. Houston is no doubt a better defensive team than Portland, too.
The goal for the Lakers to win is pretty simple. Don’t go out of your way to post guys in the paint. It is enticing, given the size advantage they have, but it will also take all the guys out of their rhythm. They need to feel the flow of the offense.
LeBron is ready to go. Just four wins away from a trip to the conference finals in the “other” conference for the first time.
Lake Show Goes Up 1-0
Game 1 belongs to the Lakers, as Houston finds themselves in an early hole.
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