The Los Angeles Lakers snapped their four-game losing streak when they beat the Golden State Warriors, 124-116, thanks to LeBron James’ 56 points.
Russell Westbrook knifed through the Warrior defense to find James underneath for a layup to get the Lakers on the board, and then followed up with one of his own. The Lakers then went on a 9-0 run, attacking the paint and getting quality looks right at the rim while forcing the Warriors into jump shots on the other end.
James seemed to hurt his arm but was able to remain in the game and have his way offensively. Stephen Curry and the rest of Golden State perked up scoring, but Los Angeles did well to fend them off and ended the first leading 32-25.
It was a slower start to the second for Los Angeles as their defense lost track of Golden State shooters and allowed them pull within two. Head coach Frank Vogel made a curious decision to go with an ultra-small lineup, which struggled defensively and allowed the Warriors to take a 47-42 lead.
James re-entered the game and went right back to attacking the paint, but the Warriors outside shooting picked up and the Lakers found themselves trailing by double digits for the first time. Austin Reaves and Malik Monk were able to carry some of the scoring slack with back-to-back threes, and another 3-pointer from James at the buzzer left Los Angeles only down 67-62 at halftime.
Another slow offensive start to the third put the Lakers back down 12, but Russell Westbrook nailed a corner three to stop the bleeding. The two teams traded baskets, but James got out in transition for an and-one to once again get L.A. within striking distance.
With the pace picking up, James took full advantage by getting a head full of steam toward the basket but the Lakers could not get stops on the other end. Westbrook followed James’ lead by relentlessly attacking for layups and Carmelo Anthony’s jumper at the buzzer left L.A. only down 94-89 going into the fourth quarter.
The teams struggled to score to begin the final period, but James came back in and immediately made knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers in a row to put the Lakers up 100-97. James matched his Laker high for points after scoring his 51st point, but Jonathan Kuminga responded to tie the game again.
It became a shootout shortly after as each team threw haymaker after haymaker. Despite some untimely turnovers, Anthony was able to hit a crucial 3-pointer in the final minute that helped give the Lakers the improbable win.
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