After watching a 16 point halftime lead vanish like a building during a David Copperfield show midway through the 3rd, the Lakers found a way regather themselves and used a strong defensive effort late to secure a 117-109 win in Game 2. With the late effort Los Angeles has now tied their Western Conference semi-final series with the Rockets.
Houston made 22 three point shots in the game and the combination of Tucker and Gordon were dropping them like bowling pins in front of Earl Anthony as the teams came out after intermission. The long range assault during the 3rd was the catalyst to a 41-23 Rockets quarter and they turned into the 4th quarter with the lead.
Even though the Rockets were pouring in the deep ones, their defense in Game 2 was not as tight as the series opener. In the end, the Lakers shot 57% from the field for the game and LA managed to drop in 12 three pointers themselves. The ability to get stops in key game situations will determine who takes this series, in my opinion, and tonight is was LA that got the job done.
Lakers started the 4th quarter with an 8-2 run that included a James dunk, along with one of the many Westbrook bricks from deep, and makes from role players Morris and Rondo laid the foundation for the way this 4th quarter would play out.
For as easy as the shots dropped for the Rockets during the 3rd, they simply would not drop in the 4th. The combination of House, Covington, and Westbrook were making next to nothing coming out of a Houston timeout early in the 4th. Tucker made a couple shots when it seemed things were slipping away but a Danny Green three point make following a quick Lakers timeout seemed to deflate the Rockets.
Down the stretch Lakers worked the ball around, milked the clock and hit just enough shots and FT’s to ensure they made the number.
Davis poured in 34 tonight that was on time when needed most of the night, and Lebron played a solid floor game in Game 2 finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists but did commit 7 turnovers. Key role player tonight for Los Angeles was certainly Markieff Morris who hit 4-of-5 from deep and his 16 points gave the Lakers a bit more punch than normal.
Houston was balanced with six players finishing in double figures with Harden playing a solid game putting in 27 points. Gordon came through with the shooting touch scoring 24… he and the 18 points from a hard working Tucker had them in position to take a 2-0 series lead. Westbrook was noticeably poor shooting the ball again tonight… even a couple of the ones he made seemed to be rather fortunate.
INNER CIRCLE got the BEST BET winner on the LAKERS -5.5 but it was not without a bit of drama. Any time a huge lead vanishes like a fart in the wind it can create anxiety in the minds of those with a financial interest in the outcome.
Game 3 of the series will be played Tuesday from The Arena in Bay Lake… somewhere inside the NBA bubble. Will be watching…