After a hard-fought series, the Houston Rockets are headed to the second round of the playoffs. They were very close to getting eliminated but they were able to hang on and now have a date with the number one seed Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets should have both of their stars to start the series, which is important because the Lakers are a much bigger threat than the Oklahoma City Thunder.
However, Russell Westbrook doesn’t sound all that worried. When asked about facing the West’s top seed, he essentially dismissed them.
“I think when we play the way we need to play, it’s tough to beat us. So our job now is to focus on how we can adjust to that series, I would say. [The Lakers] are obviously a good team. They’ve been a good team all year long,” Westbrook said.
It’s probably time he starts worrying because the Lakers just easily took care of the hottest team in the bubble. Los Angeles has finally hit their stride after the long layoff and they aren’t an easy matchup for the Rockets.
Mike D’Antoni Jokes About Playing in L.A.
One thing that works in the Rockets’ favor is that the Lakers have lost their homecourt advantage in the series. Mike D’Antoni poked fun at that fact.
“We got to fly to L.A., which is tough, but other than that it’s good,” D’Antoni quipped after Wednesday’s win.
The loss of homecourt advantage is unfortunate for the Lakers but it didn’t seem to be much of a problem in round one. At the end of the day, the best team will come out on top.
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Lakers in for Tough Matchup
Out of the two teams that could’ve advanced, the Thunder were preferable for the Lakers. The Rockets have a lot of potential when they’re playing their best and their perimeter offense could cause problems. Los Angeles doesn’t really have players who can lock down both Westbrook and James Harden while Robert Covington will play really tough defense on LeBron James.
However, the Rockets aren’t going to be able to stop Anthony Davis. D’Antoni acknowledged that fact recently.
“A lot of people have guarded [Davis]. It hasn’t worked,” D’Antoni said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “I don’t care who guards him. He’s still going to be Anthony Davis. We’re not going to all of a sudden turn him into a pedestrian player.”
LeBron is obviously going to be great despite the tough matchup against Covington but Davis is more of a wild card. He’s disappeared in a number of games since the bubble started. That said, he was mostly excellent against the Portland Trail Blazers and they had some solid bigs to slow him down. The Rockets don’t really have a big who will stop Davis. He needs to dominate if the Lakers are going to win this series.
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