NBA Playoffs 2020: LeBron James and Anthony Davis stars as Lakers evens series against the Rockets

The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be creating a pattern in the postseason of the 2020 season: lose Game 1, win everything else. It’s left to be seen if they could do it again after ousting the Portland Trail Blazers in the said fashion.

The Lakers lost their opener against the Blazers but swept the rest of the series, and so far, it could yet happen against the Houston Rockets. Houston took Game 1, but after a back-and-forth 117-109 victory, the Lakers tie the series 1-1.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis held to 45 points in Game 1 but combined for 62 efficient ones to go along with 21 rebounds and 13 assists in Game 2.

Watch LeBron star in Game 2

The Rockets, meanwhile, couldn’t maximise an absolutely incredible shooting night because 22-of-53 shooting outings from 3-point range are absolutely rare, and now they will have to adjust ahead of a crucial Game 3 on Tuesday or this series might end as quickly as it started.

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Smart teams while playing against Houston this season usually use Russell Westbrook’s man as the doubler on James Harden when he crosses half-court. The logic is sound and helps them trap with purpose since Westbrook is a non-shooter.

The Lakers employed even a more efficient way of trapping themselves. They didn’t just trap off of Westbrook’s man, they trapped off of shooters, and they didn’t just trap Harden, they trapped Eric Gordon as well.

Their philosophy for most of this game was, essentially to just double and hope Houston’s shooters didn’t beat them, but this is Houston, not some run-of-the-mill regular-season opponent. The Rockets are going to take every open shot the Lakers offer them, and they hit an incredible 20 shots from behind the arc in the first three quarters alone.

But the Lakers found the right gimmick in the fourth quarter.

A 1-2-2 zone allowed them to defend Harden without compromising the integrity of their defense in the corners. In that period alone, Houston scored only 17 points, but more importantly, the Rockets only made two threes.

Houston might have a response for Game 3, but it’s another weapon for the Lakers to deploy on defense.

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