Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Rockets – Game 3 – 9/8/2020

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(#1) Los Angeles Lakers (6-2) |  (#4) Houston Rockets (5-5)

 

The Los Angeles Lakers flexed their muscles once again in Game 3 of the 2nd Round of the NBA playoffs with a 112-102 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

 

Led by LeBron James, who had 36 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, the Lakers starters bullied the Rockets as much as they did in Game 2. The Rockets had no answer for Anthony Davis, who used his offensive arsenal to the tune of 26 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists. For the Rockets, James Harden had 33 points to go along with nine assists and nine rebounds, and Russell Westbrook bounced back in Game 3 to have his best game of the playoffs, hitting L.A. for 30 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.

 

Lakers vs Rockets
Photo Credit: USA Today

The win put the Lake Show up 2-1 on Houston in their Western Conference semifinals series.

Lebron James, who became the NBA’s All-Time playoff wins leader with the victory, completely balled out. The King controlled the tempo of the game from the onset. He dominated inside the key and beyond the arc.

“It’s something I never dreamed of,” said James, who was already No. 1 in career playoff scoring, after he led all scorers with 36 points. “I never came into the league as a kid saying, ‘I want to be No. 1 in playoff wins.’ I always said I want to be a part of a winning culture and be a winning player and do whatever it takes to help my teammates win, and this is the result of it.

But it doesn’t happen without my teammates over the years, my coaching staff over the years—everyone from top to bottom — GMs, owners, training staffs, ball boys, everything. Everyone has a hand in that because we’re all a part of the process and the success. So either if I was in Cleveland or Miami and now with the Lakers, I’ve been a part of three great organizations that have allowed me to be a part of something that’s historic.”

 

The Lakers size is giving the Rockets issues. But Davis‘ skill set is even more problematic for Houston.

 

Lakers vs Rockets
Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Davis continued to show that he belongs in the NBA’s top playoff-performer category. The Lakers are 17-1 (.944 win percentage) this season, including the playoffs, when Davis and James combine for 60 points. He also has been able to dominate in the post as well as step out and have his mid-range game give the Rockets fits.

Davis has also shown no problem deferring to James in the Lakers offense.

“The other day, when he did the double-pump dunk, we were saying no guy should be able to do that still at this many years in the league,” Davis said. “Nothing’s surprising for us. The things he’s able to do at this age is still unbelievable. I say it all time: I feel like every game he’s breaking another record, and so I’m glad I’m his teammate and get to witness it firsthand.”

Rajon Rondo once again played a huge role in the Lakers’ victory playing with purpose and sparking the Lakers offense. Rondo had 21 points and nine assists. Rondo scored eight straight points during a 10-0 run at the top of the fourth quarter. The Lakers never looked back. Rondo also assisted on the other basket during that stretch.

 

In the past two games, the Lakers and LeBron James are playing at a different level than they have all season and in the postseason.

 

 

Lakers vs Rockets
Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

“One, we don’t know how many opportunities we’re going to get at this level. Two, our league kind of tries to weed guys like us in our later years out of the league,” James said. “And you see it a lot: Guys in their 30s, mid-30s, they kind of try to stray away from the vets and things of that nature, so we take — that’s a little pride, as well.

“And then three, some people was built for this moment, and some people were not. And I just think that when you’ve been in the process, and you’ve been building your mind and your body and your soul for the postseason, no matter the circumstances, no matter the environment, then you’re able to rise.”

James had another signature moment in the playoffs. He had four blocks in Game 3, but he had a back-to-back defensive series in which he blocked Harden and Westbrook coming from the weakside.

“It’s unbelievable,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “The lift he gives us with the superhero plays, you can’t really put it in words.” 

“I’m just trying to be in the right position,” James said. “Good momentum plays well for us.”

The Lakers have the momentum heading into Game 4 on Thursday night. James and Davis seem to understand that this postseason is an opportunity to create an iconic moment in sports history, considering everything that has happened this season.

 

 

Game 4 will be on Thursday with tipoff at 6:00 pm. You can watch the game on TNT.

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Joe Arrigo

Twitter: JoeArrigo

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