The Los Angeles Lakers need to make some changes.
The Los Angeles Lakers are 0-2 in Game 1s this postseason. They’re also 5-0 in all other games. This is a comforting statistic for Laker fans. But while the Lakers managed to record four straight wins against the Trail Blazers following a close Game 1 last round, it may be easier said than done in their second-round matchup against the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers’ most recent Game 1 was very telling and vastly different from their Game 1 versus the Blazers. While the Lakers managed to let Game 1 slip from them late in the game against the Blazers, LeBron James & Anthony Davis were already sitting during the final couple minutes of their Game 1 versus Houston.
This can be credited to the Lakers’ rotational attack on Houston’s (really) small-ball approach. Some of these things are inevitable, such as putting Danny Green or Alex Caruso on James Harden and watching Harden work.
Last round, Oklahoma City’s Luguenzt Dort made disrupting Harden’s offense look easier than it actually is. Caruso likely won’t have the same defensive success this round, but putting Caruso on Harden is probably the Lakers ‘ best bet considering how he’s emerged as arguably the team’s best perimeter defender as of late.
However, the Rockets had some success away from Harden, which means that the way that the Lakers defend Harden isn’t their only problem. They have their flaws on both ends, and although they can only do as much as trying to contain Harden, they can fully control other things.
Frank Vogel can control their rotational adjustments to the point where they can not only run with the Rockets but hold them off and run away with the series.
Vogel managed to take notes from Game 1 and actually made a couple of changes, but the themes throughout this postseason with Vogel’s rotations still remain for the most part. Other decisions are just hard-headed and have more risk than reward. However, it isn’t too late. There are still rotational changes to be made/kept throughout the rest of this series.