LA Lakers a win away from clinching Western Conference final berth

Lake Buena Vista, US, Sep 10 (EFE).- The Los Angeles Lakers moved within a game of advancing to the Western Conference finals after beating the Houston Rockets 110-100 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven second round series at the Staples Center on Thursday.

The Lakers’ resounding win was powered by center Anthony Davis and forward LeBron James, who each finished with a double-double.

Davis put up 29 points and 12 rebounds and made five assists and two blocks, while James had 16 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and two steals, narrowly missing out on a triple-double.

Another four Lakers players scored in double digits, including reserves Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo.

Caruso scored a playoff career high of 16 points, and Rondo had a double-double of 11 points, 10 rebounds and made eight assists and two steals.

The Rockets captured just 26 rebounds against the Lakers’ 52.

Russell Westbrook was the saving grace for the Rockets with 25 points, four more than the team’s star guard James Harden and six more than Eric Gordon.

The Lakers had a 23-point lead by halftime and seemed to be cruising to an easy win when the Houston offense woke up.

Westbrook made a corner 3 with three minutes to go. Harden made a steal and a couple of free throws on the next possession, and the Rockets put together an 18-2 run to take the score to 103-96. The Lakers lost the ball on four consecutive possessions during that stretch.

Gordon, guarding Davis and about half-a-foot shorter, had no chance as the Lakers’ All-Star scored on penetration and widened the lead to nine points, giving the LA team some breathing room.

A three-pointer by Caruso off a pass from James with 34.6 seconds of play left put the score at 108-100 and the Lakers scraped by.

The Rockets have already come back from a 3-1 deficit in the past, doing so against the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2015 playoffs.

It remains to be seen whether they manage to repeat the feat against the Lakers in Game 5 on Saturday. EFE


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