National Basketball Association
Confidence Check
National Basketball Association

Confidence Check

Published Sep. 7, 2020 12:38 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Lakers evened their conference semifinals clash with the Houston Rockets at a game apiece on Sunday night, with a 117-109 win that was a touch more back-and-forth than the final score indicated.

After the game, confidence seemed to be a common thread on both sides.

For Rockets star Russell Westbrook, it appeared to be waning in supply as he admitted to being a little loss in the defeat.

"I don't know ... right now, I'm just running around. So, I've got to look at film and figure out how to be effective."


The 2017 NBA MVP had a woeful Game 2, with 10 points on 4-for-15 shooting, including 1-for-7 from beyond the arc. He also had more turnovers (7) than assists (4). 

For Kevin Wildes of First Things First, the answer for Westbrook is to forget about taking aim from range, and instead attack the rim.

As for LeBron, he and Anthony Davis remained poised and put up a combined 62 points in the Game 2 win, including 8 from The King in the final quarter to lead all scorers.

But it was the Lakers' previously unheralded supporting cast that really helped tipped the scales in their favor, with Rajon Rondo, Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma all ending the game with double-digit scoring performances.

None of the three cracked the double-digit mark in Game 1.

After the game, Davis praised his teammates for their work and diligence to be ready when called upon.

"[Rondo and Morris] trust their work. They come in and work every day and put in the time to better their craft, and when they get on the floor (they're) two guys who aren't afraid of anything ... So when they come in the game, they're ready to play."

And from a pundit standpoint, Nick Wright has a bit more confidence in the Lakers advancing, but believes this Western Conference semifinal could be a lengthy one ⁠— especially if Westbrook finds his stride.

Where do the oddsmakers put their confidence? FOX Bet has the Lakers winning 4-2 or 4-1 as co-favorites on the board at +210. 

Game 3 tips off on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, with the Lakers currently listed as 5-point favorites.


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