In one half, the Lakers were sluggish and frustrated. In another half, they showed why they are the defending champions, and it proved to be barely enough.
They ended up beating the Warriors 103-100 and have clinched the No.7 seed in the West, thanks to LeBron James‘ 34-foot 3-point heave over Steph Curry with 58.2 seconds left in the fourth. The Lakers will face the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the Playoffs.
It was a great shot. That was a tough one because you don’t really expect it to go in. Everything changes when it goes in. All-time great players make great shots. That’s what happens.Steph Curry, ESPN
LeBron, who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, got poked in the eye by Draymond Green minutes before hitting a game-winner. He first split a pair of free throws, tying the game at 98, and followed it up with his longest make of the season to seal the game for the Purple and Gold.
After Draymond’s finger to the eye, I was literally seeing three rims out there. I just shot for the middle one.LeBron James, ESPN
Anthony Davis led the Lakers in scoring with 25 points on 10-for-24 from the floor. Alex Caruso, who played a huge part in the win, especially in the first half, added 14 off the bench. Dennis Schroder with 12 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 10 are the only other Lakers who scored in double digits.
Steph Curry dropped game-high 37 points, along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He shot 12-for-23 from the field, 6-for-9 from three, and 7-for-8 from the charity stripe but failed to get his shot off at the end of the regulation. Andrew Wiggins added 21 and did a great job guarding Lebron, and Draymond Green, although only scored 2 points, did an excellent job playmaking and containing AD. In 41 minutes of action, he had 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals.
I couldn’t be more proud of the team for what they’ve become over the last couple of months, but this is a bitter pill to swallow. This was our game, and we couldn’t get it done.Steve Kerr, Yahoo Sports
The Warriors will face off against Memphis for the eighth seed in the West after the Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs 100-96. The winner of the elimination game will face the top-seeded Utah Jazz in the first round of the postseason.
Golden State played Memphis three times this year and won the regular-season series 2-1 with Curry being out in two of those three games. The only time he played was when two teams met on the last day of the regular season. The Warriors secured the 8th seed with a 113-101 win at home, and Steph hit nine threes and finished the game with 46 points.
Their next and final matchup of the 20/21 NBA season is scheduled for Friday. Fired up, underdog Grizzlies are ready for a challenge. But so are Curry and the rest of the Warriors. It’s the biggest game of the year for both teams, and the Playoffs haven’t even started yet. That’s the beauty of the Play-in concept, and I can’t help but love it.