The Los Angeles Lakers were one game away from the Western Conference final on Thursday by defeating the Houston Rockets 110-100 in the fourth game of the best-of-seven series, which now dominate 3-1.
The resounding triumph of the Lakers was based on the work of center Anthony Davis and forward LeBron James, and luck may be cast this Saturday.
Davis finished with a double of 29 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
James came back just short of a triple-double with 16 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and two ball recoveries.
Four other players had double-digit numbers, including reserves Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo.
Caruso contributed 16 points, his best mark as a professional in the ‘playoffs’, and Rondo a double-double of 11 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and two ball recoveries.
The Rockets had just 26 rebounds to 52 for the Lakers.
Guard Russell Westbrook was saved from the wreck, scoring 25 points, four more than star James Harden and six more than guard Eric Gordon.
The Lakers were up 23 points midway through the quarter, en route to a landslide victory. That’s when the Houston offense woke up.
Westbrook took a corner kick with 3 minutes to go. Harden had a steal and a pair of free throws on the next possession, and the Rockets put together an 18-2 run to go 103-96. The Lakers lost the ball on four consecutive possessions during that stretch, unable to do anything.
Gordon, who is about a half foot shorter than Davis, had no chance as the Lakers All-Star scored on penetration and increased the lead to nine points and gave the Los Angeles team some breathing room.
Caruso’s 3-pointer off James’ pass with 34.6 seconds left put the score at 108-100, and the Lakers escaped.
The Lakers won Game 3 by holding Houston to 38 points in the second half and prepared to win Game 4 by cracking down again, this time in the first half.
The Lakers were 57-41 at halftime, meaning Houston had scored 79 points in its last 48 minutes of basketball.
The Rockets scored 79 points in a two-quarter span on five different occasions this season.
When James has three wins in a series, it’s usually over. His teams, including the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, have a 13-win winless series lead with a 3-1 lead, and 36-10 overall in the game immediately following the one he won. third.
The Rockets have already rallied from a 3-1 deficit, doing so against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the 2015 playoffs.