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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rockets' comeback too little too late in 110-100 Game 4 loss to the Lakers
Posted: September 10, 2020 -- 11:55 p.m. CT
ORLANDO, FL (ESPN Disney World of Sports Complex) -- With an opportunity to tie their series with the Lakers 2-2, the Houston Rockets were listless and without energy the first three quarters which cost them a 110-100 loss to the Lakers in Game 4. The Lakers lead the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series 3-1.
After the Game 3 loss Tuesday evening. Rockets Head Coach Mike D'Antoni mentioned "I think our legs got a little tired."
Thursday night, after Game 4, D'Antoni said, "Just a lack of spirit. Just seems like we got down we lost our way a little bit."
Houston trailed 26-22 after 1 quarter. In the first quarter, the Rockets made 8 of 17 field goals for 47.1 fg%. However, the Lakers shot 50.0% (9 for 18) from the floor.
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Houston scored 19 points in the second quarter. Houston shot 4 for 15 from the floor in the second quarter. The Lakers shot 46.2% (12 for 26) in the second quarter.
Houston trailed the Lakers 57-41 at halftime.
The Lakers outscored the Rockets 31-19 in the second period. LA got 16 bench points in the quarter: 2 from Rajon Rondo; 5 from rookie Talen Horton-Tucker; and, Alex Caruso scored 9 points.
Houston finished the first half losing the points in the paint battle 26-16; losing 2nd chance points 6-0; and losing fast break points 12-0.
The Rockets made 6 of 11 three-point field goal opportunities in the third; however, 5 turnovers led to 7 Lakers points.
Both teams scored 29 points in the third quarter.
Houston trailed 86-70 at the end of the third quarter.
LA increased the lead to 23 points (99-76) with 7:53 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Lakers got careless, sloppy, or bored the next few minutes; and, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon led a huge comeback. Houston used a 22-4 run to inch within 5 points (105-100) of the Lakers with 58.7 seconds remaining in the game.
LA's Alex Caruso swished a 3 pointer (assist LeBron James) to boost the Lakers' lead to 108-100 with 35.2 seconds remaining.
The Rockets did not score in the closing moments of the game. Meanwhile, LeBron James finished a Rajon Rondo pass off the backboard with a one-hand slam dunk for the final score of the game, 110-100.
After the game, Russ said, "Should have been a sense of urgency on everybody's part".
Russ scored a team-high 25 points on 8 for 16 field goal shooting and 6 for 9 from the free throw line.
James Harden had a quiet 21 points. Harden made just 2 of his 11 field goal attempts, including 1 for 6 from three. Harden, however, did make 16 of his 20 free throw attempts.
Eric Gordon scored 19 points on 6 of 14 field goal shooting (including 4 for 8).
Austin Rivers scored 14 points off the bench for Houston.
The taller Lakers dominated the shorter Rockets: Lakers 62-24 in the paint; 17-3 in 2nd chance points; and 19-2 in fast break points.
Anthony Davis scored 29 points to lead the Lakers. LeBron added 16 points, a team-high 15 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Game 5 versus the LA Lakers will be Saturday, September 12. Tip is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN.
For the second consecutive phone, Houston Rockets forward Danuel House Jr did not play in the game due to "personal reasons".
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