Houston Rockets: Believe it or not, it’s possible to stop LeBron James

LeBron James (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
LeBron James (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Anthony Davis P.J. Tucker (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

Run the big rebounders off the floor

The Lakers are absolutely devastating on the offensive glass. They were second in the league in putback points per game and had the fourth-highest offensive rebounding-percentage in the league at 24.5 percent.

What’s even scarier is that the Lakers paired their offensive rebounding prowess with a league-best field goal percentage of 48 percent. The Rockets can’t and won’t win the offensive rebounding battle, but they have the ability to reduce the Lakers’ advantage in this area severely.

The Lakers’ two best offensive rebounders were Javale McGee and Dwight Howard. The pair averaged 4.3 offensive boards per game in only 35.5 minutes per. The Rockets will need to punish the Lakers for having a traditional center on the court by bombing and hitting their threes.

If the Rockets can run and gun the offensive rebounding offices of Howard and McGee off the court, they will force Anthony Davis to be the Lakers’ lone center. Davis, as great as he is, is not the same low-post bruiser that McGee and Howard are. Throughout the series, the Rockets will want to beat and batter Davis in the post to slowly chip away at one of the Lakers’ most significant advantages.

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The Lakers are LeBron’s team and will go as far as he can carry them. The Rockets know this and need to limit LeBron’s impact at all costs. This strategy gives the Rockets their best chance at advancing, but it will come at a cost.

Anthony Davis will be in a position to put up huge numbers. It’s not an enviable situation, but that’s what happens when you face one of the league’s best teams. The Lakers are not nearly as tied to Davis’s production as they are to LeBron’s.

In games where Davis shot 50 percent or better, the Lakers were 26-7. When he shot below that mark, they went 20-9. Over the course of the season, both LeBron and Davis failed to score at least 20 points 14 times.

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When Lebron missed that mark, the Lakers went 5-9. When Davis did, the Lakers went 8-6. Stop LeBron, you stop the Lakers. It’s as easy and as hard as that.