Last night the Houston Rockets narrowly escaped what would have been an embarrassing game 7 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden essentially saved the Rockets season with a game-deciding block during crunch time allowing the Rockets a trip into the second round. Now they will face a Lakers team with a 35-year-old MVP candidate and Anthony Davis. We will look at the matchup from both sides and who will come out on top.
Houston Rockets: The Rockets currently have the best defensive rating in the bubble and it showed during the series against the Thunder. Although James Harden admittedly struggled he still averaged 29.7 points and 8.0 assists. Russell Westbrook missed some time during the series but returned to help lift past the Thunder. His presence will be required in order to potentially defeat the 1st seeded Lakers. Rust played a significant factor in Westbrooks’ return from a quad injury but in order for the Rockets to have a chance, Westbrook will have to be in all-star form to beat the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers:
Lebron James and Anthony will be locked in to show up in the series and that alone is enough to beat the Rockets. The consistency of James in his 17th year should not be overlooked. Anthony Davis presents matchup problems as his ability to score outside of the post will be a detriment to Houston’s typically undersized line-up. Another interesting factor to watch will be the line ups Frank Vogel will try to incorporate. Will he decide to match up against Houstons smaller line-up or will he try to overload with bigs like Dwight Howard and JaVale McGree?
Prediction: Overall I think the Lakers will defeat the Houston Rockets and move onto the Western Conference Finals