The Los Angeles Lakers are patiently getting their practice and workouts in as they wait for their next opponent. It won’t take too long as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets face off tonight in game seven of their series. No matter the outcome of that game, the Lakers know that it gets harder from here on out.
Let’s take a look at both possible opponents for the semifinals. First let’s start with the Thunder. They are led by Chris Paul who seems to have turned it on in their series against the Rockets. Paul has been a catalyst in every team he has played for. He’s their most clutch player and is a natural born leader who will battle till the end. Dennis Schroder is a quick guard who can get hot from the perimeter. He also presents problems due to his quickness. Then you have rising young talent in Gilgeous-Alexander and shooter Gallinari. Last but not least, there’s big man Steven Adams who can be physical in the paint. They don’t have a bunch of stars on their team but they are very gritty and will play until the horn sounds. If the Lakers do draw the Thunder, they would have to attack them in the paint and play solid perimeter defense. They have a little bit of size so the Lakers would have to be physical with Davis, McGee, and Howard and try to tire them out.
Now let’s take a look at the Rockets. The Rockets present a problem out in the perimeter where the Lakers haven’t been all too good in that department. The Rockets don’t have any size, which is probably their biggest weakness. The Lakers should out-rebound them and have some blocks. The Lakers should be attacking them inside the paint as much as possible since the Rockets are very thin in that area. Where the Rockets are weak, they are very strong with their outside game. James Harden is their catalyst, and how he goes, the team goes. Harden is one of the best one-on-one players in the game today and can go off anytime he’s on the floor. He’s going to get his points, but this is where the Lakers have to build a wall in the paint. Then there’s Westbrook–the Rockets most explosive player. He hasn’t been the same since his injury, but don’t let that fool you. He can still make an impact. Gordon can shoot the lights out once he get’s going, so the Lakers will have their hands full on the perimeter.
The Lakers might get some reinforcements as Rajon Rondo could play in the series. Other than LeBron James, the Lakers have been missing another floor general who can get others going easily. Rondo’s uncanny passing and leadership abilities will definitely help in the upcoming series. It’s going to another exciting battle as the Lakers prepare for the semifinals.