LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to their first NBA Western Conference final in a decade with a 119-96 blowout win over the Houston Rockets yesterday.
Anthony Davis tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds, Kyle Kuzma had 17 and Markieff Morris finished with 16 for the Lakers, who eliminated the Rockets in five games in the quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.
Los Angeles advanced to their first NBA final four since the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers beat Phoenix for the conference title and then defeated Boston for the 2010 NBA championship, the last time they won.
“It’s the reason I wanted to be a part of this franchise is to take them back to a place they were accustomed to being. And that’s competing for a championship,” said James.
This will be James’s 11th career conference finals but when asked by reporters how it feels, he changed the subject to talk about the group as a whole.
They will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Denver Nuggets in the next playoff round. The Clippers lead that series 3-2.
The Lakers got off to their best start of the series, dominating the opening plays to take a 35-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Their only lull of the game came in the start of the second quarter when Houston briefly woke from their slumber and cut the lead to seven, 38-31.
But the Lakers outscored the Rockets 33-18 in the third to take full command.
They drained 19 three-pointers and shot 52 percent from the floor.
With the game in hand, the Lakers sat three-time NBA champion James and Davis for much of the fourth quarter.
“Everything is falling into place. When I got here the goal was to win a championship and now we are eight wins away,” said Davis.
The public is not allowed in the arena because of the coronavirus pandemic but players are allowed to invite a limited number of family and friends to watch the games in person.*AFP