The Rockets played an extremely close series in the first round in which they only got out by winning by 2 points. Nevertheless they are here and have to get hotter than they have ever been before. James Harden and Westbrook need to be the superstars we know. Westbrook is not 100% and I think it is showing. He will get more into “basketball shape” in this series and I think he will be a lot better than the 3 games he played last series. Harden needs to be more efficient in my opinion. He is getting his points and assists but can definitely shoot better or try and get to the line more. Their role players are gonna have to step up big as well. Jeff Green and Robert Covington are playing great in the bubble and they need Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, Daniel House and Austin Rivers to all get hot this series. If Austin or Eric Gordon go off they both can go for 30+ so that could be scary. The most surprising thing has been their defense. They played very good defense vs the Thunder especially at the end of games. This MUST carry over into this series because the Lakers are a lot bigger than the small ball Houston team. They need to rebound and limit second chance shots as much as possible. Tyson Chandler might have to play some minutes for them actually. For the Lakers it is the same keys as always. Lebron and AD will do them, role players knock down shots. Not just that, knock down shots in close game which is something both AD and Lebron will have to do in some games down the stretch this series and for the rest of their run. Luckily for them, they did not play many “down to the wire” games with the Blazers due to Dame’s injury but he is a serious threat to steal a game at the end which I think is the Lakers biggest vulnerability right now. Overall I think it’s going to be an exciting series to watch with 2 of the most entertaining teams in the league. The last time we had 2 players on each that were averaging over 25 points per game (Russ and Harden vs AD and Lebron) matchup up in a series was the 2017 NBA Finals (Kyrie and Lebron vs Curry and KD). Both teams especially the Rockets are hard to predict so I am just hoping for a competitive series. It would be a lot of fun to see James Harden and Russ get hot and duel with the Lakers.