LEBRON James and Anthony Davis combined for 62 points and 21 rebounds, and the Lakers needed to hold off the fourth-seeded Rockets’ second-half rally to win 117-109 Sunday night to even their Western Conference semifinals series 1-1 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
James narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
What began as a Lakers blowout turned tight in the second half. The Lakers led by as many as 21 points early in the second quarter, but needed to survive the Rockets’ surge after intermission.
The Lakers outscored the Rockets 27-17 in the fourth quarter, flipping a 92-90 deficit into an eight-point win. A James turnaround jumper to give the Lakers a 117-109 lead with 32.3 seconds to play all but sealed the win.
Sunday’s fourth quarter was a turnaround from Friday’s Game 1, when the Rockets pulled away in the final period to clinch a double-digit victory. The Rockets’ third-quarter surge was, predictably, sparked by the 3-point shot. Houston went nine-of-13 from deep in the third quarter alone. That included a four-point play by Robert Covington to cut the Lakers’ lead to 80-79 with 5:07 left in the period, and another 3 by Covington to give the Rockets an 82-80 lead.
Overall, Houston outscored the Lakers 41-23 in the third quarter, and led by as many as five points.
James said following Game 1 that his team had needed live action to adjust to the Rockets’ speed. Early Sunday night, the Lakers were the team dashing through the open court for 16 fast-break points in the first quarter. — Reuters