Following a Game 1 loss, LeBron James stated he and his teammates would make the necessary adjustments during his post-game press conference late Friday night. Although his words rung true during the first 24 minutes of the game, it was barely enough as the Houston Rockets suffered a 117-109 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday night, inside the AdventHealth Arena in Orlando.
With loss coming from the Rockets, the Western Conference Semi-Finals are even at 1-1 apiece.
Eric Gordon ignited the Rockets’ second-half comeback following a made 3-point field goal attempt to cut the Lakers’ 16-point halftime lead down to 13. Gordon’s 3-point field goal opened the door to a 41-point third quarter — enough for the Rockets to overturn a 21 point first half deficit to a 92-90 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Behind nine third-quarter points from Gordon, the Rockets connected on 68.4% of their shots from the field in the period. The former Sixth Man of the Year winner ended the game with 24 points, shooting 50% from deep.
The third quarter explosion would be the only time the Rockets took control of the game. The Lakers outscored Houston 27-17 in the fourth. Anthony Davis led the way for the Lakers with 34 points (15-24 FG) and 10 rebounds in the win.
“We just matched their intensity. They came out aggressive and I think we did a good job only to be down by a few points towards the end of the quarter. We gave them that run that got them up to 21 points. Against any team, no matter which team, it’s tough to come back form 20 something points. We did and we gave ourselves a chance.” — James Harden
The Lakers’ defense and bench production caused the Rockets to fall behind early in the game. Houston had no answer for Markieff Morris, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the first quarter — all coming from behind the arc.
After scoring 36 points in a Game 1 victory on Friday, the Lakers double-team James Harden nearly every possession to open the game. If they were not doubling, Harden found himself trying to play through a zone. The results ended with the three-time NBA scoring champion pouring in 27 points on 12 shot attempts.
With the Lakers’ defense focusing on Harden, Russell Westbrook had arguably the worst post-season game of his career. He scored only 10 points shooting 4-for-15 from the field — 1-for-7 from behind the arc — and turned the ball over seven times in the loss.
“Russ will be fine. He’s great. The great thing about Russ is that he does more to affect the game other than score the basketball. He’s so athletic that he can affect it with his defense and his playmaking. He does a variety of things to impact the game.” — Harden
In the win, LeBron James came one assist shy from a triple-double with 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. P.J. Tucker had one of his best games with 18 points (7-10 FG, 4-7 3PT) and 11 rebounds in the loss. Robert Covington added 17 points.
“I didn’t think we were going to sweep them. Now it’s a best of five series.” — Mike D’Antoni
Up next, the Rockets will attempt to bounce back with a Game 3 victory on Tuesday, tip-off is slated for 8:00 p.m. CT.