The Lakers have lost the opening game of both of their playoff series In the bubble. Trailing the Houston Rockets, the Lakers needed a win in Game 2 and they sent, as they did in the first round. The show is tied ahead of Tuesday’s Game 3.
The meeting of the super-big Lakers and the ultra-small Rockets will be fascinating. It is a battle of contrasting basketball philosophies, along with a struggle of two coaches wanting to play their method. There are four inner-circle superstars in this show, four gamers who are looking for a potentially legacy-altering series win.
Russ Keeps Shooting
Russell Westbrook taken 25.8percent from three at the normal season. He is Been below 20% from the NBA playoffs. The Lakers, for example every defense, are happy for Westbrook to shoot threes. The prior MVP tried seven shots from beyond the arc Sunday, and he struck only one of them.
The Rockets revamped their roster to help Westbrook. They removed Clint Capela in the street to give him space to drive, enclosing him with shooters so he doesn’t have to shoot shots from profound. Houston shoots more threes than anyone else in the league, but Westbrook is meant to be the team’s sin. He’s a driver, he’s a fantastic finisher, and he certainly shouldn’t be carrying seven threes in a playoff game.
There are times when Westbrook looks lost, a player disconnected from The rest of the Houston offense. Playing in his best before this season was postponed,” Westbrook was aggressive, attacking the cup at will.
Maybe the quad injury which saw him miss the start of the postseason Is slowing down him, and which makes him reject driving opportunities. Perhaps the size of the Lakers is putting him off these towering drives to the basket. Whatever the justification, the Rockets cannot manage another offensive performance such as Sunday’s from Westbrook.
P.J. Tucker is the heart of the Rockets team. Playing at the five And knocking down three she supplies both inside defense and spacing. He shields Anthony Davis and proceeded four-for-seven from deep in Game 2. Foul trouble was an issue, which could prove pivotal in this sequence.
Year, good for seventh in the NBA. He got to the point at will at the first round, and preventing fouling him may be the difference between wins and losses for Houston. Tucker was +18 in Game 2 — he’s powerful enough to contend with Davis from the post and ship him out.
The 35-year-old was that the sole Rockets defender who troubled Davis — Tucker held him 53.8% and registered a couple of blocks.
Davis played the majority of his minutes at the five Game 2. It Will be interesting to learn how Frank Vogel utilizes his other large men in Game 3. Playing Davis in the five makes sense in a lot of ways for the Lakers, and it has a superior defensive matchup with Houston, but it also lessens their size advantage, and makes it simpler to have Tucker sticking to Davis throughout the sport.
Rockets Keep It Close
Better offensive choices from Westbrook and the Rockets could be upward 2-0. The Lakers required dominant play out of LeBron James down the stretch to level the string, and Houston’s defense remains remarkable. They’re so mobile about the margin, the Lakers have been unable to make the most of the size.
They can still take This series comfortably, however, the Rockets are so, so good at the defensive end. There is always an opportunity Houston has a freezing cold shooting night and get ignored, but when Westbrook cuts the long-range efforts, and Harden has been aggressive, they’ll generate enough offense to become aggressive on Tuesday.
Houston to pay looks like the best bet, though there may be value in financing the beneath.
Pick: Houston Rockets +5.5 (-110)