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Davis, Lakers run past Rockets for 3-1 West semifinals lead

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – Anthony Davis was the most important participant on the ground, and the Houston Rockets had no solutions.

Davis had 29 factors and 12 rebounds, LeBron James completed one help shy of a triple-double and the Los Angeles Lakers topped the Rockets 110-100 on Thursday evening to take a 3-1 lead of their Western Conference semifinal sequence.

James had 16 factors, 15 rebounds and 9 assists for the Lakers, who outrebounded the Rockets 52-26. Alex Caruso scored 16 factors and Rajon Rondo had 11 factors, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers, who held on after frittering away most of a giant second-half lead.

“Turnovers,” Davis mentioned. “We had too many turnovers.”

That was one of many few complaints the Lakers might make after Game 4.

Russell Westbrook had 25 factors and James Harden had 21 – on 2-for-11 sho-oting – for the Rockets, who obtained 19 from Eric Gordon and 14 from Austin Rivers.

The scoring margins have been large: Houston obtained outscored 62-24 in factors within the paint, 17-3 on second-chance factors, 19-2 on fast-break factors.

“We know we’re in a big hole now, but the next game is the game we’ve got to win,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni mentioned. “We’ll go out and if we lay it on the line like the way we did in the fourth quarter, we’ll be fine.”

The Lakers have been up by 23 halfway by the fourth, properly on their technique to a blowout win. That’s when Houston’s offense awakened.

Westbrook made a nook 3 with 3:01 left, Harden obtained a steal and a pair of free throws on the subsequent possession, and the Rockets put collectively a 18-2 run to get inside 103-96. The Lakers turned the ball over on 4 consecutive possessions throughout that stretch, giving Houston life.

“I think we did a good job getting more aggressive, and that led to a lot more opportunities offensively,” Harden mentioned.

Harden was then requested why the Rockets have been flat by three quarters.

“Good question,” Harden mentioned, later including, “there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

The Lakers, on their greatest possession of the evening, went to Davis – who was guarded by Gordon, who stands about half-a-foot shorter than Davis. It led to a straightforward rating for Davis with 1:47 left, and the Lakers had a little bit of respiratory room.

Caruso’s 3-pointer off a move from James with 34.6 seconds left made it 108-100, sealing the win.

“Obviously, we’ve got to be better,” James mentioned. “We’ve got to close out games the right way.”

This is how simple issues have been for the Lakers: In the third quarter, James grabbed a defensive rebound, turned and fired a 70-foot move – soccer throw-in fashion – to Davis, the ball crusing over the 5 Rockets who have been jogging again on protection. Davis caught the move in stride and laid it in for a rating, the ball by no means touching the bottom.

And that is how troublesome issues have been for the Rockets: They went 4 for 20 from the sector over a 16-minute stretch spanning from late within the first quarter to early within the third, getting outscored 41-23 and seeing their deficit rising from three to 21.

The Lakers received Game 3 by holding Houston to 38 factors within the second half – and clamped down once more within the first half of Game 4. It was 57-41 Lakers on the break, which means Houston had scored 79 factors in its final 48 minutes of basketball.

For context: The Rockets had 79 factors in a two-quarter span on 5 completely different events this season. The stretch within the fourth made it fascinating, however the Lakers by no means misplaced the lead.

“Overall, it’s a heck of a win for our group,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel mentioned. “Again, we’re not going to be comfortable playing against this team with the firepower they have.”


Lakers: When James will get to 3 wins in a sequence, it’s often over. His groups – together with the Miami and Cleveland stints – are 13-0 in sequence with a 3-1 lead, they usually’re 36-10 total within the sport instantly following the one the place they win the third sport. … Dion Waiters (sore left groin) was inactive, however the Lakers are hoping it could possibly be a short-term drawback. JaVale McGee sat with a left ankle sprain.

Rockets: Houston is among the franchises that has overcome a 3-1 deficit, doing so towards the Clippers within the second spherical of the 2015 playoffs. . … Harden went to the road for the primary time with 1.3 seconds left within the first quarter; he’s now taken a first-period free throw in 17 of his 18 video games within the bubble.


Houston was once more with out Danuel House, whereas the NBA probes whether or not he violated conduct guidelines contained in the bubble. “They’re investigating it and once it’s through they’ll tell us what the deal is and we’ll go with it,” D’Antoni mentioned.


Houston’s minus-26 rebounding differential matched the worst within the playoffs this season. Indiana was outrebounded by Miami by 26 in Game 4, because the Heat completed a sweep of that sequence.


Game 5 is Saturday.


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