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#pounditSunday, March 7, 2021

James Harden shares key to Rockets’ success against Lakers

James Harden

The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 112-97 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Friday night, and James Harden knows what keyed the win.

Harden was the high-scorer in the game with 36 points, but that wasn’t his focus afterwards. Instead, he said it was on the defensive side of the floor where Houston will need to win.

“Our defense. That’s what’s going to get us where we want to go. I keep preaching it, but defensively, if we’re engaged … this is the best team in the West. If we can hold them under 100 points defensively, we got something. Just keep that same mindset,” Harden said in his postgame interview.

The Rockets held the Lakers to 42.2 percent shooting. The Lakers’ 3-point shooting really hurt them once again, as they were just 11/38 from beyond the arc.

The Rockets now have a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-7 series. The Lakers fell behind 1-0 against Portland in the first round before winning the series in five games. By no means should Houston get ahead of itself. But if they can keep the Lakers under 100 points as Harden said, you have to like their chances.

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