Houston Rockets prepare for better play from Lakers in Game 2

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Following the Houston Rockets’ blowout of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1, the Rockets’ focus has shifted to Game 2.

The Houston Rockets are doing their best impersonation of David vs. Goliath, as they’re the overwhelming underdogs in their first round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets are largely viewed as too small to advance past the Lakers.

Game 1 told a far different tale, as the Rockets finished dead even with the Lakers in the rebounding column, with both teams hauling in 41 boards. The Rockets also didn’t need to play their normal strategy of heaving 50 threes, as they shot just 39 triples and made 35.9 percent of them.

The Rockets’ superstar duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook outscored LeBron James and Anthony Davis 60-45. But although the Rockets embarrassed the Lakers 112-97 on the Lakers “home floor”, it’s important to note that the Rockets simply won the first battle, and the war is far from over, as Russell Westbrook pointed out.

Russell Westbrook: “We haven’t done nothing yet.”

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) September 5, 2020

Houston Rockets prepare for Lakers’ best in Game 2

Although the Game 1 victory felt great for Rockets fans, considering the narratives that were formulated heading into the series, we shouldn’t expect the Lakers to just fold, as they are after all a good team. They were the top seed in the Western Conference for a reason.

Surely Anthony Davis and LeBron James won’t combine for just six points in the fourth quarter again, and LeBron won’t go scoreless in the final period either. But Eric Gordon says the Rockets know the Lakers will make adjustments, which will have very little impact on the Rockets’ ability to win Game 2.

Eric Gordon: "It's a good start. We have a long way to go. The Lakers are going to make some adjustments, we are too. All we've gotta do is be consistent."

— Anthony Duckett (@a_duckett) September 5, 2020

The Lakers lost Game 1 of their opening round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, and went on to win the next four games in a row. The Lakers are surely going to come out with their best shot in Game 2, and Rockets MVP finalist James Harden said as much following Game 1.

James Harden: "We've gotta be even better in Game 2. Because the principles and schemes get ramped up, so guys have to be even more engaged."

— Anthony Duckett (@a_duckett) September 5, 2020

One of the adjustments we may see is Anthony Davis playing the role of full-time center, which could be advantageous for the Rockets. Davis has shown that he doesn’t respond well to physical play, and P.J. Tucker‘s defense is best described as physical. Davis went scoreless against Tucker in Game 1, so that change could be favorable for the Rockets.

But Eric Gordon is right: no matter what the Lakers do on their end, the Rockets can win on any night, as long as they consistently play their brand of basketball, which is taking high percentage shots and suffocating their opponent on the other end of the floor.

Next. How the Rockets have set the tone against the Lakers

Now onto Game 2, which will be on Sunday at 7:30 PM central time.