With the exception of about 6:00 in the 4th Quarter, the Lakers did exactly what they needed to do to take the series by the scruff of the neck. Led by Anthony Davis’ 29 points, LeBron James’ near triple-double (16 pts, 15 rebs, and 9 asts), and Alex Caruso’s 16 points, the Lakers were able to defeat the Rockets 110-100.
Right from the beginning, the Lakers came out determined to shut down the Rockets defensively. The Lakers limited the Rockets to just 3 three point attempts in the first quarter and just three made three point shots in the first half.
Overall, the Lakers’ dominance in tonight’s game was evident. The Lakers outrebounded the Rockets, 52-26, outscored the Rockets, 19-2 in fast break points, and 62-24 in points in the paint.
While the statistics look great for the Lakers, and overall, they played very well. However, there was that stretch in the 4th quarter where the Lakers to a 101-78 lead with 7:21 remaining. Up by 23 points, it looked like it was all over. Time to clear the bench and get the starters some rest. The Rockets thought otherwise. Eric Gordon hit a three pointer to cut the lead to 20, beginning the 22-4 run by the Rockets over the next 6 minutes. Two James Harden free throws with :58.7 made it 105-100.
During this 22-4 run, what could go wrong for the Lakers did go wrong. Turnovers, lack of offensive movement, poor shot choices, and lazy defense were the catalyst for the Rocket run in the 4th. Thanks to a clutch three pointer by Alex Caruso to push the lead to 108-100, the Lakers were saved a massive embarrassment in Game 4.
Despite that run, it was the work that the Lakers had done defensively in the first 3 quarters that allowed the Rockets to make that run with the only damage being that the Lakers didn’t win by 20 or more points. By coming out and punching the Rockets in the mouth in Game 4, they may have just laid the groundwork for another victory in Game 5. Now, the Lakers just need to make sure they come out on Saturday with the desire to end the series in 5 and not allow the Rockets to get their shooting swagger back.