Good afternoon, folks. If you beat the Lakers in Game 1, they will win the next four. Theses are the rules. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.
Lakers finish off Rockets in Game 5
It took a couple of years, but LeBron James is finally back in the Conference Finals, although, for the first time in his illustrious career, it’ll be for a team out West.
The Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a series-clinching Game 5 over the Houston Rockets, taking the series 4-1 as they advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since they won it all back in 2010, the longest such drought in franchise history. Let’s do a quick game recap.
The Lakers were dominant all night long, immediately bursting ahead to a 33-11 lead in the first quarter. However, the same issue that has hindered their performance throughout this series became a talking point yet again: too many unforced turnovers. L.A. turned the ball over 13 times in the first half alone, which ultimately helped aid the Rockets to a 17-2 run through the early stages of the second quarter. Houston was able to trim the lead down to 35-28, but the Lakers ballooned the advantage back to a 62-51 lead at the intermission.
While the Rockets battled back a bit out of the gate in the second half, the Lakers always had a response. A 15-0 run led by Anthony Davis and his supporting cast pushed the L.A. lead to 95-69 after three quarters and the game was all but decided by then. In the first and third quarters combined, the Lakers outscored Houston 68-38. Even with 19 turnovers on the evening, Davis, Lebron, and company look like the team to beat, especially with the Los Angeles Clippers running into a Game 6 later on Sunday against the Denver Nuggets. As a squad, the Lakers shot 52 percent from the floor, 51 percent from beyond the arc (19-37), and outrebounded Houston’s small-ball rotation 50-31.
In the opening series against Portland, the Trail Blazers stole Game 1 from the Lakers before losing the next four in a row. Houston did the exact same thing, winning Game 1 before losing the following four. So, as a heads up for whichever team plays the Lakers next: don’t win Game 1.
Davis only finished the game with 13 points, but his presence was felt all game long (in good and bad ways). The former Wildcat also added 11 rebounds and four assists to his stat line, but with six miscues along the way. Against Houston, Davis turned the ball over a total of 20 times in five games, averaging four per outing. SPOILER ALERT: that’s not good, and it definitely won’t fly against a team such as the Los Angeles Clippers, who can already decimate teams in the halfcourt without having to rattle off 25 fastbreak points in order to win a game. The good news is Davis is shooting the ball just about better than he ever has. The Lakers team we saw on Saturday night is the team that can win it all–if they can cut down on the unnecessary turnovers, that is.
As for fellow Wildcat Rajon Rondo, he put on another dazzling display of “Playoff Rondo”, registering three points, five rebounds, and five assists in 20 minutes for the Lakers. But it was his brother who stole his spotlight in the win…
Other notes from the Bubble
William Rondo, the brother of Rajon Rondo, was ejected from the Lakers-Rockets Game 5 after getting into a verbal argument with Houston guard Russell Westbrook. With the Lakers controlling the game late and the win becoming inevitable, William Rondo reportedly yelled out to Westbrook, calling him “trash” before giving him the same Damian Lillard goodbye wave that the Blazers star delivered to Westbrook during last season’s playoffs. William was quickly ejected from his courtside seat, and if I had to guess, he won’t be attending any of the Lakers’ future Bubble games. Players were only recently allowed to bring family members down to Orlando.
Lakers guard Rajon Rondo says his brother, William, called Russell Westbrook “trash” and nothing more and gave him the “Damian Lillard” wave when the Rockets star asked what he said. Rondo said his bother didn’t say anything more and he is hopeful there will be no discipline.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) September 13, 2020
Before the altercation between William and Westbrook, Rajon and Westbrook were seen jawing at each other a bit with some slight pushing and shoving involved during a break in the on-court action. While nothing ultimately came of it on the floor, it did eventually spark the altercation between Westbrook and William.
“People at the game, you’re supposed to shut your mouth and watch the game. That’s the rules, especially when you have families and people here,” Westbrook said, according to ESPN. “Apparently, I guess because [Rajon] Rondo was talking s—, [William] decided he wanted to hop in, too.
“But it’s OK. I mean, it’s all good, I get it. He wanted to take up for his brother. … But those rules stand for everybody, though, no matter who it is — family, whatever.”
The most hilarious aspect of this high school spat is how Rajon took up for his brother after the game. He didn’t deny anything that William said, but did downplay it, saying that his brother “didn’t do anything crazy” and simply “called the man trash”. Ya know, nothing rude or disrespectful, he just called a grown man trash. This isn’t the first time that William Rondo has been in Bubble-related news, either, although this is the first time it was for “disciplinary” reasons. William was the head man in charge of hand-picking the barbers who ventured down to Orlando to help build the NBA’s makeshift barbershop, located right on the Walt Disney World campus. He sure has quite the reputation down in the Bubble.
Series standings from Saturday
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
(1) Lakers beat (4) Rockets 4-1
|Anthony Davis (LAL)||119-96 W vs. HOU||13||4-9 (0-0)||11||4||0||1||6||+29||34|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||119-96 W vs. HOU||3||1-4 (1-1)||5||5||1||1||2||+6||20|
TODAY IN THE BUBBLE
1:00 (ESPN): Clippers (Patterson) @ Nuggets (Murray) [LAC leads 3-2]