Los Angeles Lakers: Scouting Rockets vs Thunder for Round 2

Los Angeles Lakers(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers /

Ride Houston’s Three-Point Wave

Waves in Galveston, 45 minutes south of Houston, are far less exciting than any of the other beaches in Los Angeles. From my personal experience, LA’s beaches are far superior. Likewise, allowing Houston to shoot a lot of three-pointers is far superior than letting James Harden and Russell Westbrook go off. 

Houston wisely defied conventional wisdom when they traded their starting center Clint Capela to Atlanta for versatile wing Robert Covington.

The Capela for Covington swap improved Houston’s offensive ecosystem, which proved to be far more harmonious without a traditional center.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni quickly realized Russell Westbrook must be surrounded by four other knockdown shooters to optimize his offensive performance. A 5-out offensive system allows Russ to flourish without another offensive player clogging up the paint.

In the immortal words of Woody in Toy Story, the paint was not big enough for the two of Russ and Capela.

But the trade really benefited their defense. Their switch-heavy style is far more difficult to attack with like-size wings guarding everyone. A shifty point guard could no longer exploit Capela off the dribble.

Contrary to popular belief, the Lakers do not have to play Davis at center full-time against the Rockets. Javale McGee or Dwight Howard can guard PJ Tucker in the corner.

Not ideal but can be done. The Lakers’ closeouts will have to be on point.


The Lakers have to work as hard as ever to defend the drive. They can do this. It just will not be as easy with McGee or Howard in the game.

Riding Houston’s three-point wave is the best play. It’s far safer than letting James Harden and Russell Westbrook attacking the basket unfettered.

Otherwise, this will happen.


Having an extra big man may actually help the Lakers defensively. It is always a good idea to throw an extra defender at stopping either Harden or Westbrook’s relentless drives to the basket. Having two shot-blockers forces Houston to only shoot three-pointers.

Houston likes to play the odds. The Los Angeles Lakers’ defense should as well. Look at the percentages: only backup wing Ben McLemore shoots above 40% from three. On average, the team shoots 34.5% from three-point range.

Play the odds, Lakers defense.

Lessons from the elimination of Portland. dark. Next

If I am wrong, then so be it.