According to Rockets guard Austin Rivers, Houston has been looking forward to facing the Lakers for quite some time.
“We’ve been waiting for this — you know what I mean?,” Rivers told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I mean we’ve been waiting to play (the Lakers). Who doesn’t want to play the Lakers? We all grew up watching the Showtime Lakers, and Kobe Bryant. And now, (they have) arguably the greatest player of all time — you’ve got LeBron (James) there. It’s a fun thing to go against, to compete against. You get up for that. Anybody who says they’re not is lying.
“We don’t talk about it. It’s just a competitive thing. It’s no different than you guys (in the media) being excited to (cover) it. You want to cover it for a reason because you know that it’s an exciting team and they’re the Lakers.”
That excitement was evident in Game 1 of the series. After a fairly competitive game through the first three quarters, the Rockets pulled away in the final frame on their way to a 112-97 victory.
Rivers had a solid night coming off the bench, scoring 10 points in just 16 minutes of playing time.
Game 1 marked the second opening game of a series that the Lakers came out flat in.
They lost Game 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers, 100-93. They then dominated in Game 2 and for the rest of the series, against the Blazers.
It will be interesting to see if they are able to replicate that success against the Rockets going forward.