The Los Angeles Lakers played one of the worst halves of basketball they could have ever imagined against the Golden State Warriors in the Play-In Tournament. But when it’s basically playoff season, the only thing that matters is the final result and the Lakers will gladly take that 16 more times.
The Lakers overcame a 13-point halftime deficit and LeBron James knocked down a late, game-winning 3-pointer to give L.A. a 103-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors. The victory places the Lakers in the seventh seed in the Western Conference and they will now take on the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 25 points and 12 rebounds, but had a rough outing overall against Warriors star Draymond Green, hitting just 10-of-24 from the field. Likewise, James knocked down just seven of his 17 shots from the field, but was much better in the second half and still recorded a triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
The game was truly a tale of two halves as the Lakers were able to completely turn things around after a terrible first half. James, Davis and Dennis Schroder all struggled mightily, but the reserves, namely Alex Caruso, kept the team within striking distance early on. Stephen Curry hit a three at the halftime buzzer to give the Warriors their halftime lead and a ton of momentum going into the locker room.
The Lakers immediately closed the distance in the second half and the teams traded blows throughout the fourth quarter. The Lakers seemed to have things in hand, but Curry brought the Warriors right back and the teams were tied at 100 down the stretch.
With the score tied, the Lakers had an ugly offensive possession with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting caught in the paint, but ultimately finding James outside, who was forced to put up a deep 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down. The shot would fall, however, and provide the winning margin for the Lakers.
Caruso was outstanding on this night, finishing with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists and showing his necessity to this Lakers team for their playoff run. Caldwell-Pope also added 10 points and three assists while Kyle Kuzma and Wesley Matthews also provided some massive plays for the Lakers even though their box scores may not show it.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers will now turn their focus to the first round of the NBA playoffs and the second-seeded Phoenix Suns. The Lakers will head to Phoenix for the first two games of the series with Game 1 coming on Sunday and Game 2 happening on Tuesday.
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