For the first 41 minutes of Game 4, the Los Angeles Lakers put on a show. They were leading the Houston Rockets by 23 points (101-78) and looked set to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
For a little over the next six minutes, the Rockets went on a 22-4 run that brought the game within five (105-100) with just 58.7 seconds remaining.
Los Angeles did eventually hang on, on the back of a Alex Caruso corner three which was then followed up by an off-the-glass alley-oop from Rajon Rondo to LeBron James.
Rondo.- NBA (@NBA) September 11, 2020
Showtime. ✨ pic.twitter.com/nRJL5CPViZ
In the postgame press conference, James began by addressing the team's near-fatal fourth-quarter collapse.
"Obviously, we got to be better," he said. "We got to close out games the right way."
"We get a big lead, we got to be able to continue to defend, continue to put pressure on their defense, and not allow them to get back into the game like we did."
The outlook on the series would have been very different if it was all tied up at 2-2. Now, from 3-1 down, can the Rockets become the first team ever to come back from a 3-1 series deficit for the third time?
The Lakers, however, have no plans of letting up. Head Coach Frank Vogel spoke along the same lines as James' comments when answering a question on the Rockets' late run.
"We are up 3-1 but we got to stay the course and stay the more desperate team," Vogel said postgame.
"We're not going to be comfortable against this team with the firepower they have." Frank Vogel with @LakersReporter on the late run by the Rockets and the performance of the entire team in tonight's 110-100 #LakeShow win. pic.twitter.com/nWUu8xjYPn- Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) September 11, 2020
Will the Lakers give-up a 3-1 series lead for the second time in franchise history? By the nature of their three consecutive wins, it seems highly unlikely. One more win and they would seal their spot in the Western Conference Finals, the franchise's first since 2010.
Game 5 is set for Sunday, Sept. 13th at 5:30 a.m. IST.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.