By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Adjustments before Game 2 were made, more were needed entering the fourth quarter in order for the Los Angeles Lakers to take down the Houston Rockets and tie the Western Conference semifinals best-of-seven series at 1-1. Rajon Rondo was a key.
“We have to keep this team off guard,” mentioned head coach Frank Vogel, “Rajon Rondo did a great job. He kept his turnovers low and had a lot of assists, just a great overall performance.”
Rondo, 34, returned to action after a long injury hiatus in Game 1. With him on the court in Game 2, the Lakers outscored their opponents by 28 points. He banked ten points and nine assists also registered five steals guarding James Harden and on some occasions Russell Westbrook.
Markieff Morris was also prompted to a larger role with Vogel opting for smaller lineups to counter the Rockets’ speed. Dwight Howard did not leave the bench and JaVale McGee was limited to eight minutes due to injury.
“Being able to play versus big teams, be able to play small, be able to play in between, we built that from the beginning and we have that, always have that in our toolbox,” said LeBron James.
“Sometimes you need one game to be able to understand the speed they play with, and I think we adjusted from Game 1 to Game 2,” he added, “They’re an extremely fast team. Everyone keeps talking about small-ball, but their speed and activity defensively and offensively is something that can catch you off guard, like in a Game 1 situation. We got a feel for that.”
The Lakers were indeed prepared but still dropped a big lead in the third quarter. They stormed back in the fourth to clinch the “W”.
“We got an opportunity to catch our breath from the third quarter to the fourth quarter, and we were able to turn the ship and make the adjustments,” mentioned LeBron after his 28 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists.
“We were working with those guys on how to play against this team, which is unique,” went on Vogel, “We went on a heck of run towards the end of the first with Markieff Morris on five. We wanted to stay with that group.”
“They just came out and played harder than us,” said Harden, “In the second half, we woke up and took the lead. We’ve just got to have that intensity at the beginning of the game and we’ll be all right.”
McGee and Dion Waiters both picked up injuries. They are considered questionable for Tuesday’s Game 3.
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