In back-to-back games, the Rockets look to counter the Lakers’ physical play


Growing up, my friends and I would go to the park and play basketball against men, who were at least 10 years older than us. They intimidated us in attack and defense, often using their strength and experience against us. In the end, we were never victorious and we usually left the field with our egos and our bodies bruised.

As the young Houston Rockets (1-4) prepare to face the veteran-led Los Angeles Lakers (3-3) in back-to-back road games on Sunday and Tuesday, they should know they will face a team that will use their experience as well as their body to try to push them.

Los Angeles is run by one of the greatest players of all time, LeBron James. Standing at 6-foot-9 and weighing 250 pounds, James has the basketball intelligence to fight his way to wherever he wants on the court. That’s a lot of defensive pressure on young Houston players, like forwards Jae’Sean Tate and Christian Wood.

“They’re going to try to beat us on the glass,” Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said. “They will attack the painting, as they do in transition. It’s a great physical team, and the way great physical teams affect you is by forcing that on their opponents.

When James doesn’t impose his will on the basket, he finds other physical players like Anthony Davis and Carmelo Anthony who can be hard to stop in the paint with their size and huge frames. Add point guard Russell Westbrook to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster for the Rockets when it comes to stopping the Lakers.

Silas knows his team have a big job ahead of them, but he believes there is a way the Rockets can tackle the physique. “They’re going to try to be as physical as possible with us, and we’re going to have to take that challenge and find ways to either handle it or play pretty fast where we don’t have to.” The Houston sophomore head coach said in comments ahead of Sunday’s announcement.

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