The Lakers will start the best of seven games series against the Houston Rockets on Friday 9/3.
The Rockets present a unique challenge with their small-ball lineup.
How do the Lakers matchup with this Rockets team?
Houston’s rotation doesn’t have one player who stands above 6-foot-8. The starting lineup for the Lakers alone has 3 players who are 6-foot-8 or above. This will be a clash of styles, size against shooting. The Lakers are one of the best rebounding teams, the Rockets are one of the worst. LA leads the league in blocks, while Houston has one of the worst in the paint defenses.
Size will clearly be an advantage for the Lakers, but they need to be smart while using it. Houston will play with their five players on the perimeter, and while the Lakers players are taller, some of them may not be as fast as Houston’s players. This is why coach Frank Vogel will have some decisions to make.
Will he make changes to the starting lineup?
Playing Anthony Davis as the center is a real possibility, as the team will probably need more perimeter shooting and speed of someone like Kyle Kuzma and not the size of JaVale McGee. We will see if Vogel decides to be proactive or reactive.
Houston averaged 45 3-points attempts throughout the regular season and in the first round against Oklahoma City, they averaged 51 3-pointers per game. These numbers are historically high and are not close to what the Lakers are doing. The game the Lakers shot more threes in a game this season was 45, which is Houston averaged. Los Angeles needs to be effective in its shooting to match Houston’s three-pointers.
Houston will have trouble guarding LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but Los Angeles will also have a difficult time matching up against James Harden and Russel Westbrook, who had a very good game the last time he faced the Lakers. That’s when the role players will have to step up.
Can Alex Caruso continue his great defensive season against the Houston backcourt? Can Kyle Kuzma step up and be the third guy behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis?
What’s the biggest key for the Lakers in this series?
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