For a second straight game in their second-round playoff series versus the Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets entered the fourth quarter either tied or in front, seemingly with a golden opportunity for a big win. Yet again, they were outscored by double digits in a deflating loss.
In Tuesday’s Game 3, the Rockets scored just 38 points in the second half and were outscored 30-20 in the final quarter, leading to a 112-102 loss (box score). Superstar guards James Harden (33 points, nine assists) and Russell Westbrook (30 points, eight rebounds) each had fine statistical games, but the Rockets again struggled to score at pivotal moments.
“We weren’t in attack mode,” Harden said postgame. “They [the Lakers] did a good job of trapping, and we didn’t make them pay for it.”
Over the decades-long history of the NBA playoffs, the winner of Game 3 in a best-of-seven series that entered tied at 1-1 (as this one did) has gone on to win the series more than 70% of the time.
Another great possession on defense from the Lakers. Morris jumps out as Harden comes off the handoff with Rondo trailing. Watch the switches. Kuzma to Covington, Morris to Green rolling. Morris stops the drive, AD reads it and gets the steal. pic.twitter.com/V5XytOpe8a
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) September 9, 2020
All-Star forwards LeBron James (36 points) and Anthony Davis (26 points, 15