LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing to square off against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals on Friday. Before James tries to end their season, he shared his opinion on Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook, lauding each of their talents.

Lakers-Rockets has so many stars. LeBron hailed Harden for being incredibly durable and playing at a “high level for a lot of years,” a detail that–according to James–gets lost amidst the discussion of Harden's offensive brilliance.

James called Westbrook an “assassin,” adding the former league MVP could care less what anyone thinks about his game before Lakers-Rockets begins.

As has been the case throughout his career, James did not hesitate to give his opponents their flowers ahead of Lakers-Rockets, but while LeBron spoke highly of Houston's star duo, Harden and Westbrook have been underwhelming as of late.

Lakers fans know Harden scored 32 points in Game 6 of the Rockets' first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but made just one of his six field goal attempts in the fourth quarter as the Thunder forced a Game 7. Harden then had a woeful 4-for-15 shooting performance in the series finale, though he did essentially clinch the series with a late block of Luguentz Dort.

Westbrook also struggled to get acclimated after he missed the first four games of the series. Like Harden, the “Brodie” struggled in the fourth quarter of the series' final two games. Westbrook was minus-11 in the final period in Game 6, and also shot just 1-for-9 in the fourth quarter of Game 7. Lakers fans noticed.

So while James thinks highly of Houston's stars, the Rockets will likely need more from Harden and Westbrook to beat a well-rested Lakers team.

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