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Anthony Davis had 29 points and 12 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Houston Rockets 110-100 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their NBA Western Conference final series on Thursday.
The Rockets were no match for the Lakers’ intensity and skill as Los Angeles outscored them 62-24 in the paint and 19-2 in fast break points in the quarantine bubble at the Disney resort in Orlando, Florida.
“We played defence. We did a good job of defending the three,” said Davis. “For the most part we executed our game plan.”
LeBron James took the night off offensively finishing with just 16 points, but grabbed 14 defensive rebounds and had nine assists for the Lakers, who are trying to reach their first Western Conference finals since the 2009-10 season when they were led by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
James Harden had an uninspiring performance with 21 points and Russell Westbrook finished with 25 for the Rockets in the loss. Harden went two-of-11 from beyond the arc and committed three fouls.
Los Angeles dominated in almost every aspect of offence and defence and look poised to advance to the NBA final four if they can win in game five on Saturday.
“Elimination games are always the toughest. We got to come out with a killer mindset,” said Davis.
The Lakers capped their win in style as James had a Showtime dunk and guard Alex Caruso nailed a three-point dagger on their final two possessions of the contest.
Rajon Rondo and James combined on the dunk with Rondo driving to the basket, and then bouncing the ball off the backboard to a soaring James for the rim-rattling slam.
After winning the first game of the series 112-97, Houston has now lost three straight, the last two by 10 points.
Houston clawed their way into game seven against Oklahoma City to win by just two points, but they have showed only small bursts of that scrappiness in this series.
They outscored the Lakers 18-2 at one stage in the fourth but they still lost by double digits.
The Lakers’ defence has taken away the Rockets three-point play and on offence they exploited Houston’s porous defence.
Harden looked especially disinterested on defence, watching his teammates battle for loose balls around the rim and taking a step back instead of challenging when James made a drive to the basket for an easy layup.
© 2020 AFP