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Lakers stomp small-ball Rockets to reach Western Conference Finals

LeBron James is heading back to the conference finals with Anthony Davis and Co. after beating Houston in Game 5 of the second round.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the ball against James Harden of the Houston Rockets during the third quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 12, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers made easy work of James Harden and the Houston Rockets, stomping the small-ball lineup 119-96 in Game 5 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

It’s the first time LeBron James has been to the West Finals with L.A. after missing the postseason in 2018-19. It is the 10th time in James’ career that he’s reached the conference finals. It is the first trip to the conf. finals for the Lakers since 2010, the last time L.A. won a championship. It will be Anthony Davis’ first trip to the conference finals.

The Rockets failed to make it out of the second round for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Houston traded Chris Paul to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook and that did not make things any different. Now the big question is whether coach Mike D’Antoni will sign a new contract with the Rockets after four seasons.