There has been a lot of talk about what the Lakers should do heading into Game 2 of the second round of the NBA playoffs. Should they bench Rajon Rondo? Put Anthony Davis at center and go small to match up with the Rockets? Stay big because those lineups actually did better than many seem to think?
Whatever their plans are after studying the film from Game 1 and talking over adjustments, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel made it clear following the team’s voluntary practice on Saturday that he wasn’t going to give the media a sneak preview.
“I’ll keep my opinions on our lineups close to my vest right now,” Vogel said. “We got off to a strong start in the game, so the starting lineup did have a positive plus-minus, but we’ll continue to evaluate what the best way to beat the Houston Rockets is. And we’ll just leave it at that.”
Part of the problem for the Lakers in this series is that they can’t force the Rockets to abandon the way they play. No matter how big the Lakers go, the Rockets are going to stay small, because those are basically the only types of players they have on their roster.
“They don’t really have the option to go big. They made an organizational decision to create this style of play, and I think they’re going to sink or swim with it,” Vogel said. “I believe you’re going to see this style regardless of what the results look like.”
The possible benefit for the Lakers there, though, is that if they do figure out something that works, the Rockets only have so much they can do to try and stop it. They’re committed to micro-ball with the zeal of a deranged cultist, which could backfire on them if the Lakers find ways to take advantage of their size advantage.
How L.A. will attempt to do so is the biggest question currently facing this series. We’ll get our first look at answers in Game 2.
Notes and Updates
- Anthony Davis (left finger sprain), LeBron James (sore right groin) and Rajon Rondo (back spasms) are all PROBABLE to play in Game 2. This is the same injury designations they had prior to Game 1, so expect them to play, at least until we hear different.
- The Lakers are wearing their Black Mamba jerseys tonight.
- Davis is willing to play center against the Rockets if asked. It’s not clear if that’s the right call or not.
- The Lakers only played one game in the 10 days leading up to the second round. They thought that rust hurt them in Game 1.
- The good news for the Lakers: They clearly can play better than they did in Game 1. The bad news: So can the Rockets, something their head coach pointed out.
- The Lakers have family in the bubble now. They’re trying to balance that relief while not getting distracted from their championship goals.
Game 2 will tip off at 5:30 p.m. PT, and be televised on ABC. You can also sign up for fuboTV to watch it here.