The Lakers dropped Game 1 in their second straight playoff series, as they will look to even the series tonight against the Rockets. The Game 1 loss can be attributed to a few reasons, with it mostly being their offense that failed them which is to be the case in most Lakers losses. Nothing new this game in regards to the injury report, so the same exact squads will be going at each other again. We’ll have to see what adjustments the Lakers, or even the Rockets make, as each team looks to regroup after getting their initial looks at each other.
Frank Vogel’s rotations
The eyes of many Lakers fans will be looking to see what Frank Vogel does early on with his substitutions, as he seemed to resist making any drastic adjustments except for putting Dion Waiters in momentarily. No, the team’s rotations seemed to return to the way they were before the pandemic struck (aside from Avery Bradley), as Rajon Rondo played his first game back since March 10th with 24 minutes played off the bench. I guess you could argue that Rondo was fine considering he was coming back from such a long absence, but I, along with the majority, would say he played terribly. This would usually be excused with the aforementioned absence, but this is the exact type of play we’ve seen many times from Rondo throughout his two years with the Lakers. Many thought “Playoff Rondo” was still a thing, but one game in it doesn’t seem to be there. He ruined spacing on the floor throughout the game, only making three of his nine attempts while having four turnovers.
Hey everyone, @donny_mchenry here with a video THREAD of why the Lakers were -10 last night with BOTH LeBron and Rondo on the floor (+0 with Rondo on and LeBron off). In this first clip you can easily see the spacing problem presented to LeBron with Rondo out there pic.twitter.com/CpgFsZZ0Cx
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) September 5, 2020
Vogel’s hands were somewhat tied with the guard rotations going into the 4th quarter, as Alex Caruso had collected his fifth foul with 1:11 left in the 3rd quarter. Still, Rondo had played so poorly already up to that point that you could argue that just having anyone else out there would have been preferred. Whether it’s more minutes for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green, or even Dion Waiters or J.R. Smith, Vogel may have to switch it up at some point in this game if the same Rondo comes out early on.
How will LeBron James respond?
Anthony Davis had a pretty decent game on Friday, scoring 25 points on an efficient 10-of-16 on field goals while adding 14 rebounds. LeBron only scored 20 points in 36 minutes on 7-of-15 field goals. He, along with Rondo, had four turnovers and shot poorly from deep, only making two of his seven three-point attempts.
The way that the Rockets offense is performing even against the Lakers’ great defense, another game like that from LeBron James may spell doom for the Lakers as they do not want to go down 2-0 in this series. LeBron James has played spectacular in the playoffs aside from Friday night as well as early on in Trail Blazers series, so I expect him to come out strong tonight with a high scoring game while still facilitating to Anthony Davis on pick-and-rolls towards the basket.
Tip-off will be at 5:30 p.m. PST on ABC.