LeBron James likened the Houston Rockets to the St. Louis Rams teams of the late-1990's and early-2000's after the Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals on Friday.

James said the Rockets are tough to prepare for because they play at a totally different game speed than the tapes might otherwise convey. The Lakers star also hinted the diverse skill sets of the players in the small-ball rotations make Houston's offense tough to pin down (via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports):

“It’s like in the early 2000s, when the St. Louis Rams were The Greatest Show on Turf,” James said. “People would always say how they’d scout them, and scout them, and scout them. Until they got on the field, and they’d see Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, Marshall Faulk and Az Hakim, and all those guys. And they were like, ‘We need to play them again.’ Because there’s no way you can simulate that speed. Getting out on the floor and having a Game 1 will give you a good feel for it.”

The Rockets were coming off just a single day of rest after a grueling seven-game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But Houston stampeded past the well-rested Lakers.

James Harden poured in 36 points on 12-for-20 shooting, and Russell Westbrook added 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists while finishing +15 for the contest.

Los Angeles trailed by just six heading into the fourth quarter. But James went scoreless in the fourth quarter, with the Rockets—as they did against the Thunder—cutting off straight-line drives and forcing the Lakers to take contested perimeter jumpers.

Houston came out firing early. Now, the onus is on James and the Lakers to adjust ahead of Game 2 on Sunday.