The Los Angeles Lakers have created a blueprint this postseason. Lose Game 1 to get the pundits buzzing and pre-writing a postmortem on how LeBron James has lost his magic and the Anthony Davis experiment was a bust. Then win Game 2 in convincing fashion as a Men In Black memory-pen-eraser-thingy to invalidate such opinions.
In the Blazers' series, Game 2 foretold of four straight victories. The same could very well be true for this Rockets' series. That is, if the Lakers stick to their guns and commitment to being schoolyard bullies as they did Sunday night.
Davis, perhaps a bit befuddled at all the positive press P.J. Tucker received for being a big-boy pest in Game 1 (as Davis actually went 10-for-16 with tons of round numbers rounding out his statsheet), found good look after good look in the second game. The 7-footer asserted himself to a 15-for-24 performance with 34 points. Only one of his attempts was a three-pointer, which he made.
This makes sense. Houston-L.A. is a freakshow series. It's large-versus-small. Contrasting styles merging together to answer the question if more twos are actually better than fewer threes. The gold-and-purple team should be pounding the ball inside until the red-and-white one is black and blue.
The results speak for themselves. The Lakers shot 56.6 percent overall last night, including 62.5 from two-point range. James went 10-for-17 and 9-for-12 inside the arc. Kyle Kuzma was 6-for-7. Markieff Morris, though he made four triples, finished 6-for-8. It doesn't take an advanced metric savant to understand the great efficiency at work here. And it doesn't take a genius to understand that it's replicable.
Davis, James, Morris and Kuzma will all be taller than whichever economy-sized defender Mike D'Antoni will task with defending them. There's little risk in fouling out or even landing one's self in foul trouble by driving aggressively to the basket, over and over.
Do not be surprised if Frank Vogel, who is paid to notice things about the team he coaches, notices all this and incorporates a carbon copy going forward. It's not all that complicated.
And it's not dissimilar to the elementary school days when the offense ran through whichever player was tallest. Get them the ball, instruct them to keep it chest-high, and toss it up at the rim. Rinse, repeat. Orange slices and a Capri Sun after the game. Even for the bullies.