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LeBron, Lakers on the cusp of West finals

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) celebrates with Anthony Davis, left, and Alex Caruso after an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Houston Rockets Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 110-100. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Houston Rockets didn’t show up for Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers until it was too late.

They can’t do that again Saturday in Game 5 — or else.

For the second time in these playoffs, the Rockets’ season is on the line. The Lakers lead Houston 3-1 in their Western Conference semifinal series and could clinch their spot in the West finals with a win on Saturday night at Walt Disney World. It is the only game on Saturday’s NBA schedule.

Houston has won an elimination game already; it beat Oklahoma City in Game 7 of the first round. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t want his club thinking about trying to win three games now, preferring instead to simply focus on getting one.

“We’ve got to win the next game,” D’Antoni said. “It’s a one-game series and then we’ll see what happens.”

Whatever happens for Houston, it’ll happen without Danuel House.

The Rockets’ situation got worse Friday, when House was told to leave the bubble for the remainder of the season because an NBA investigation showed he had a guest in his room “over multiple hours” this week.

The NBA said the guest “was not authorized to be on campus” and that its investigation showed no evidence that other players or staff were involved in the matter. A person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that the Rockets initiated the decision for House to leave. That person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the Rockets nor the league confirmed that detail publicly.

“Mr. House is leaving the NBA campus and will not participate with the Rockets team in additional games this season,” the league said.

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