James poured in 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds and seven assists in the Lakers’ 119-96 Game 5 victory over the Houston Rockets, storming back to take the Western Conference semifinals series 4-1 after Houston upset L.A. in Game 1.
The Lakers’ star improved to 37-10 in close-out opportunities, extending his streak to five straight wins in that situation. And L.A. snapped the longest cold spell in team history without making it to the round that determines a berth in the NBA Finals.
Facing a uniquely structured Houston team that traded its center, Clint Capela, midseason in order to go all in on coach Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball approach, L.A. beat the Rockets at their own game as the series played out.
Morris had 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting in Game 5 and went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers. L.A. outshot the Rockets from the outside as a team Saturday, going 19-for-37 from 3 (51.4%) compared to Houston’s 13-for-49 (26.5%).
The Lakers will await the winner of the LA Clippers – Denver Nuggets series to see if Los Angeles’ first-ever NBA city series will be played out in the bubble in Orlando or if the Lakers will face the Nuggets in a rematch of the 2009 conference finals.