Game Five Preview: Lakers gear up for closeout chance against the Rockets

Image from D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers post-season has been full of firsts and none will mean more than a win against the Houston Rockets tonight. A victory would secure the franchise its 10th trip to the Western Conference Finals. The last time the Lakers made it to the third round was in 2010 against the Phoenix Suns. A win against them ultimately led to an NBA Finals berth.

Lakers Biggie Small Lineup

There was lots of deliberation of whether the Lakers were going to match the Rockets small-ball before this series, but through their first three games, the Lakers stood pat. In Game Four, they ended up starting Makieff Morris beside Anthony Davis and LeBron James in the frontcourt. Centers Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee did see action in Thursday’s win. There isn’t a traditional center in the starting lineup, but the Lakers still trot out two guys that are 6’9 and a seven-footer opposite their guards. They’ve found a way to be their big and athletic selves while retaining enough speed to corral the Rockets shooters.

More Talen Horton-Tucker?

Thursday’s brief appearance was a treat for fans in a huge game. THT was fearless and put a few imprints on the game in that first half. If that was an audition to get some trust from the veterans and Frank Vogel, his activity could be a nice emergency tool for the team to lean on. THT finished the game with five points and two steals.

Rondo and Kuz and Caruso

The bench trio has come up big during this series on both ends. As always discussed, the Lakers lack the third wheel to compliment AD and LeBron, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. These guys have held steady enough to stand out and support their superstars in their playoff success. A similar showing in tonight’s game as their win on Thursday will be the icing on the cake for the Lakers.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8PM EST/5PM PST.


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