Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Playoff Recap: Lakers vs Rockets – Game 1 – 9/4/20

Los Angeles Lakers (52-19)  |  Houston Rockets (44-28)


The Los Angeles Lakers played the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the the second round of NBA Playoffs Friday night. Despite just finishing a seven game series, the Rockets still managed to pull off the upset of the Lakers, and they made their presence known in this series.


Los Angeles lost to the Rockets 112-97 and now trail in the series 1-0. The Lakers didn’t have an answer for Houston, as James Harden gave them buckets. He finished the game with 36 points, five assists, and two rebounds. His partner in crime, point guard Russell Westbrook, finished the game with 24 points, six assists, and nine rebounds. An immense contribution to the Rockets success Friday night came from former NBA Sixth Man of the Year, forward Eric Gordon. He dropped 23 points, one assist, and three rebounds.


Photo Credit: USA Today

As mentioned in the preview for this game, the only way the Rockets could beat the Lakers was if they outscored them with efficient shooting. I stated that they needed to shoot 50% from the field, and they shot 48% as a team. James Harden, by himself, shot an eyebrow-raising 60% from the field and 50% from three.

If the Rockets want to capitalize on their Game 1 win, Harden must continue to play just as he did in this outing.

Another thing the Rockets did was play quality defense. As a team, Houston finished the game with 13 steals. Furthermore, although significantly shorter than Los Angeles, Houston managed to match them in total rebounds (41), and they out-rebounded them on the defensive glass 37-31. The Rockets’ perimeter defense was exceptional as well, as they held the Lakers to 28% from three and 42% from the field.


All around, this was a great outing for Houston and they’ve made this series interesting by blowing out the favorites in Game 1.


On the other hand, this was a terrible outing for Los Angeles. As the higher seed, with multiple days off to rest and their height advantage, on paper, the Lakers looked like they could dominate Houston easily. Obviously, that didn’t happen.


Photo Credit: WFMZ

LeBron James played well, but he could have done a lot more. Despite some mesmerizing moments in the game, including a filthy poster on Russell Westbrook‘s cranium, James finished the game with only 20 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. His numbers weren’t terrible, but as the leader of a team, 20 points in a playoff game from your best player isn’t going to win games. James was aggressive with his touches, but he needs to exert himself even more, when the time comes to do so.

Anthony Davis ended the game with 25 points, 14 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks. He was a monster on defense and on the glass, but because of the way Houston defended him, he wasn’t able to get many looks inside. If Davis gets four to five more touches to isolate, this game could have had a completely different outcome.


Los Angeles will look to bounce back in Game 2 which will be played on Sunday, September 6th at 5:30 PST.

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-Michael Dancy II – Franchise Sports Media

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