The Los Angeles Lakers made it a series after a 117-109 win on Sunday night against the Houston Rockets. Impressively, they withstood a 41-point third quarter barrage after going up as much as 21 points in the first half. It was in large part due to their composure and LeBron James. James used a late third and early fourth quarter surge to put the game away.
Love him or hate him, game two was one for the books for Playoff Rondo. He showed a throwback defensive intensity against both James Harden and Russell Westbrook resulting in timely turnovers. He pushed the pace and got guys easy shots in the half-court and transition. Rondo finished the night with 10 points, nine assists, and a game-high of five steals. There was a lot of chatter in his playoff debut, but for now, he’s done his job to quiet it going into Tuesday’s matchup.
There couldn’t have been a better contribution from their reserves in last game’s win. Markieff Morris, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, and the aforementioned Rondo all had their moments. Kieff found his stroke finally as a Laker where he nailed a team-high four threes for a 16 point night. Kuzma was not far behind with 13 points of his own. Anything close to this performance will be found money for the Lakers.
The Lakers approached this game with a clear game-plan in mind: give James Harden different looks. We saw them use double-teams and zones to encourage quick decisions to their advantage. The start of the second half was a bit of a step down with the Rockets doing some major offensive damage. The fourth quarter was a huge drop-off compared to the third as they held the Rockets to just 17 points. This will be a welcomed trend for the Lakers to take complete control of this series.