I did not appreciate the comments attributed to Pat Riley after the Houston series. How can he point fingers at his players when it's quite evident that he blew it as a coach?
Yes, the Lakers had the talent to beat Houston and provide effective competition for Boston, but he had to bestow confidence in his players. By not substituting effectively, by letting Mitch Kupchak and Mike McGee rust on the bench, two players who were an integral part of the regular season, he weakened the whole.
Everyone knows that the Lakers play at a much faster pace than all other NBA teams. As a result, they will tire. Tired bodies begin to miss shots, lose balls, become poor rebounders, etc. And the Lakers lost to Houston in the last quarter!