How the Los Angeles Lakers can exploit the Rockets’ tendencies

Los Angeles Lakers(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers /

Tendency Number Three: Houston’s rebounding struggles

As suggested by their lack of size, the Rockets struggle mightily on the boards, a fact that the Los Angeles Lakers should exploit mercilessly.

Houston ranks just 15th of the 16 playoff teams in rebounding percentage, while the Lakers sit 4th in that same category, per NBA Advanced Stats.

And perhaps even more consequentially, Los Angeles leads all remaining teams with an offensive rebounding percentage of 29.6%, meaning that the Lakers are better than every other team at stealing extra possessions from poor rebounding opponents. In other words, the Lakers excel at the very facet of the game in which Houston is most vulnerable.

Even if coach Vogel opts to diminish the playing time of noted offensive rebounders JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard in favor of more minutes with Davis at center, Los Angeles should still dominate the offensive glass, as AD ranks among the best offensive rebounders in the playoffs, both in terms of totals and adjusted percentages, according to NBA Advanced Stats.

At the risk of being redundant with these constant rhetorical questions, who on the Houston roster can realistically keep Davis off the boards? Covington? Tucker? Neither seems very likely.

The Rockets’ best hope to counteract the Lakers’ attempts at crashing the offensive glass is to attack in transition off of every rebound that the undersized lineup is able to grab, punishing Los Angeles for its greed by pushing the numbers advantage that results from a failed attempt at an offensive board.

But, fortunately for the Lakers, the Rockets have not been exceptionally adept at weaponizing this strategy, ranking just 10th among the 16 postseason teams in fast-break points.

As long as Caruso, Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, and the rest of the Lakers’ defensive-minded wings stay disciplined in transition, Los Angeles should be well-positioned to attack the boards without fear of repercussions.