The Los Angeles Lakers secured the lead in their second-round series against the Houston Rockets after a big win on Tuesday. Performances from Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo and Kyle Kuzma helped the Lakers pull away in the second half but it was LeBron James who set the tone throughout the game to lead the purple and gold to the victory.
James started the game on fire shooting the ball. The star forward could get to the rim and finish at will against the smaller Rockets. That opened up the floor for him, allowing his jumpshot to also flourish. All in all, James scored 29 points in the first half. The Lakers needed every single one of them, going into the break down three, having given up 64 points in the half.
James completely changed his game in the second half based on what his team needed. He only scored seven points in the final 24 minutes but instead exerted most of his effort and energy on the defensive end, protecting LA’s backline to the tune of four monstrous blocks. That effort permeated through the whole team, setting the tone for a defensive effort that saw Houston score just 38 points in the second half.
That prompted his head coach, Frank Vogel, to call him their superhero and praise his ability to lift the team to a high stature:
Frank Vogel on LeBron’s 3rd Q defensively, and the 4 blocks: "It’s unbelieveble. The lift he gives us with the superhero plays … when he’s protecting the rim and then scoring 30 in a half? It’s just remarkable."
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 9, 2020
More Vogel on LeBron.
"Nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James… It's why he should be MVP."
— Playoff Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 9, 2020
James is now averaging 27.6 points, nine assists, and 9.6 rebounds per game while shooting 57.8 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from behind the arc. It’s been a truly remarkable effort from the 17-year pro who, at 35 years old, now is the leader in all-time playoff wins. That prompted Anthony Davis to say it feels like his star teammate is breaking records every night. Last night, he was also breaking the Rockets’ morale.