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Lakers vs. Rockets: How the teams match up in playoff series

Rockets guard James Harden, center, passes the ball while defended by Lakers forwards Kyle Kuzma, left, and Anthony Davis.
Rockets guard James Harden, center, passes the ball while defended by Lakers forwards Kyle Kuzma, left, and Anthony Davis during a seeding game in Orlando.
(Kim Klement / Associated Press)

A look at how the No. 1-seeded Lakers and No. 4 seeded Houston Rockets match up for the second-round playoff series:

STARTERS

Lakers / Rockets

Player; Ht.; Pos.; Ht.; Player

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LeBron James; 6-9; F/G; 6-5; James Harden

Anthony Davis; 6-10; F; 6-5; P.J. Tucker

JaVale McGee; 7-0; C/F; 6-7; Robert Covington

Danny Green; 6-6;, G; 6-3; Eric Gordon

K. Caldwell-Pope; 6-6; G; 6-3; Russell Westbrook

The Rockets often don’t use a traditional lineup; they have used P.J. Tucker to play center, an experiment that began the last time the Lakers played them at Staples Center. Though the Lakers will have a size advantage, the Rockets don’t see it as their disadvantage. They’ve had success with smaller lineups, including against the Lakers.

When the Lakers and Houston Rockets meet in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series, each team will try to force the other to adapt to their style of play.

RESERVES

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Lakers / Rockets

Player; Ht.; Pos.; Ht.; Player

Alex Caruso; 6-5; G; 6-3; Eric Gordon

Dwight Howard; 6-10; C; 6-8; Jeff Green

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Kyle Kuzma; 6-8; F; 6-6; Danuel House

Markieff Morris; 6-8; F/G; 6-3; Ben McLemore

Again, the Lakers have a size advantage here. Caruso was supremely important to the Lakers’ defensive efforts in the first round, taking a large part, along with Caldwell-Pope, of the responsibility for guarding Portland’s star guards. The Rockets guards are even better.

COACHES

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When asked about the size discrepancy between the teams, Mike D’Antoni quipped that he is just as tall as Frank Vogel. Coaches don’t get measured, so we might never know if that’s true, but both coaches have playoff experience, D’Antoni more with his superstar, Harden.

INTANGIBLES

The Lakers have been relaxing by the pool for the last week waiting for the Rockets to finish their two-week-long series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. This could serve to give the Rockets momentum or have them more mentally sharp than the Lakers. This could alternatively make the Rockets fatigued at this point, and give the Lakers the edge of recovery.

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