);
Playoffs 2020

NBA Playoffs 2020: Los Angeles Lakers hold off Houston Rockets' late rally to take 3-1 series lead

The Los Angeles Lakers seized control of their Western Conference Semi-final series, hanging on to secure a 110-100 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 4.

Anthony Davis led from the front with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists, while LeBron James added 16 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists.

The Lakers led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter before the Rockets got to within five points with under a minute remaining, but fell short in their comeback.

"We had too many turnovers," Davis said of letting the Rockets back into the game. "I had two. We gave them easy looks, they made threes ... we've got to be better closing out games."

The Lakers rolled out a smaller starting lineup bringing Markieff Morris into the fold, keeping Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee on the bench for the game, increasing their speed and shooting, without having to sacrifice their already overwhelming size. Their smaller lineup worked wonders as they outscored the Rockets in fast-break points 19-2.

They outrebounded the Rockets 52-26, including 12-1 on the offensive glass, which they turned into 17 second-chance points and dominated in the paint, outscoring the Rockets 62-24.

The Lakers' defence was locked in from the jump as they ran the Rockets off the 3-point line, forcing them into the lane. Even when they did shoot threes, the Lakers were right there, making life difficult for them as they went just 3-of-13 from deep in the first half. James Harden connected on just 1-of-7 from the field in the opening half and finished 2-of-11 for the game.

Harden finished with 21 points and 10 assists on the night, with the bulk of his points coming at the free-throw line (16-of-20). Russell Westbrook scored a team-high 25 points, while Eric Gordon added 19 and Austin Rivers 14 off the bench.

Just when all looked lost for the Rockets, down 99-76 with 7:53 remaining in the fourth quarter, they found their offensive rhythm, firing off an 18-2 run and brought the deficit down to 105-100 with 58.7 seconds to go, but Alex Caruso's dagger 3-pointer from the corner put their comeback attempt to bed.

Caruso finished with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting on the night.

Rajon Rondo continued to grow the legend of 'Playoff Rondo' with another big performance off the bench. He flirted with a triple-double, recording 11 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists - including this one off the backboard for a LeBron James jam late in the game.

The Lakers will look to close out the series on Sunday, September 13 when the two teams face off in Game 5 at 5:30 a.m. IST.

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