Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James conceded that the Houston Rockets were far too fast to handle for his team in Game 1 of their Western Conference best-of-seven semifinals tiff on Friday. James put up 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks in the series opener, but his efforts were in vain as the Rockets took home the 112-97 win.

Speaking to reporters post-game, The King admitted that Hoston's trademark fast-paced attack caught the team by surprise, particularly in that final quarter where they managed to break the game wide open. Per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post:

“The speed. They play with a lot of speed offensively and defensively. You can watch it on film but we got a feel for their speed tonight and we should be fully aware of that for Game 2,” James said.

LeBron furthered that his team put up their usual defensive effort on Friday, but was rather lackadaisical with their offensive execution.


Moreover, the 4-time NBA MVP also likened the Rockets' blistering speed to the famed St. Louis Rams NFL team of the early 2000s.

While most pundits expected the Rockets to show some fatigue following their brutal seven-game conquest of the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was the Lakers who looked out of gas from the get-go. The Purple and Gold came out flat from the opening tip and allowed the Rockets' two superstars, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, to dictate the tempo of the game early. Houston's relentless backcourt punished the Lakers for a combined 59 markers.

The Lakers' supposed height advantage also did not matter as much, as Houston's small frontline held their own against LA's giants. LeBron James and the Lakers will have a day to figure out how to try and slow down the Mike D'Antoni-led squad. Game 2 is scheduled on Sunday.