LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AP) – Anthony Davis was the greatest player on the floor, and the Houston Rockets had no answers.
Davis had 29 points and 12 rebounds, LeBron James finished an assist just short of a triple-double and the Los Angeles Lakers overtook the Rockets 110-100 on Thursday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinals series.
James had 16 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers who outperformed the Rockets 52-26. Alex Caruso scored 16 points and Rajon Rondo had 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers, who held onto the second half after most of the big lead.
"Sales," said Davis. "We had too much sales."
This was one of the few complaints the Lakers were able to make after Game 4.
Russell Westbrook had 25 points and James Harden had 21 – in 2v11 – for the Rockets, who received 19 from Eric Gordon and 14 from Austin Rivers.
The profit margins were enormous: Houston scored 62-24 points in the suit, 17-3 points on second chance and 19-2 points on fast break points.
"We know we are in a big hole now, but the next game is the game we have to win," said Rockets coach Mike D & # 39; Antoni. "We're going out and if we get it on the line like we did in the fourth quarter, we'll be fine."
The Lakers were well on their way to a blowout win by 11pm by the middle of the fourth round. At that moment the offense from Houston awoke.
Westbrook made a corner 3 with 3:01 left, Harden got a steal and a pair of free throws on next possession, and the Rockets put together an 18-2 run to come within 103-96. The Lakers flipped the ball on four consecutive estates during this stretch, giving Houston life.
"I think we did a good job of being more aggressive and that opened up a lot more opportunities offensively," said Harden.
Harden was then asked why the missiles were three-quarters flat.
"Good question," said Harden, later adding, "there's nothing we can do about it now."
The Lakers went to Davis in their largest possession of the night – guarded by Gordon, who is about half a foot shorter than Davis. It gave Davis an easy 1:47 result and the Lakers had some air to breathe.
Caruso's 3-pointer after a pass from James with a 34.6 second lead brought it to 108-100 and sealed the win.
"Of course we have to get better," said James. "We have to close games properly."
It was that simple for the Lakers: In the third quarter, James grabbed a defensive ricochet, turned and fired a 70-foot soccer throw-in-style pass at Davis, the ball that soared over the five missiles that jogged back on Defense. Davis caught the pass in one step and put it in for a score with the ball never touching the ground.
And that's how difficult it was for the Rockets: They walked 4 to 20 off the field for a 16-minute stretch from late first quarter to early third quarter, scored 41-23, and saw their deficit rise from three to three until 21.
The Lakers won Game 3 by keeping Houston at 38 points in the second half – and repressing them in the first half of Game 4. At break it was 57-41 Lakers, meaning Houston had 79 points in the last 48 minutes of basketball.
For context, the Rockets had 79 points in five quarters on five different occasions this season. The track in fourth made it interesting, but the Lakers never lost the lead.
"Overall it's a bloody win for our group," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. "Again, it will not be easy for us to play against this team with the firepower that they have."
Lakers: If James gets three wins in a series, it's usually over. His teams – including stints in Miami and Cleveland – are 13-0 in a row by a 3-1 lead and they're 36-10 in total in the game, immediately after the one in which they win the third game. … Dion Waiters (aching left groin) has been inactive, but the Lakers hope it could be a short term problem. JaVale McGee sat with a left ankle sprain.
Rockets: Houston is one of the franchises to break a 3-1 deficit and did so in the second round of the 2015 playoffs against the Clippers. . … Harden's first turn was 1.3 seconds in the first quarter; He has now made a free throw in the first period in 17 of his 18 games in the bubble.
Houston was once again without Danuel House as the NBA looks to see if he broke any code of conduct inside the bubble. "They investigate and once it's done they'll tell us what the deal is and we'll get on with it," said D & # 39; Antoni.
NO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Houston's minus 26 rebound differential was the worst in this season's playoffs. Indiana was beaten by Miami by 26 in Game 4 when the Heat ended a sweep of that series.
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