Lakers steal Game 1 on road vs. Warriors in Western Conference semis
May 2, 2023, 9:49 PM | Updated: 9:57 pm
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Anthony Davis had 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots, LeBron James added 22 points and 11 rebounds dueling with Stephen Curry in their latest postseason showdown, and the Los Angeles Lakers held off a late flurry by the Golden State Warriors to win an entertaining Game 1 in the Western Conference semifinals 117-112 on Tuesday night.
Jordan Poole missed a 3-pointer to tie it with 9.7 seconds left as the Warriors’ rally in the closing minutes fell short. Curry’s 3 with 1:38 left tied the game, then D’Angelo Russell answered right back before Davis blocked a shot by Curry moments later. James missed the first of two free throws with 1:05 to go.
Poole’s 3 with 2:48 remaining cut the Lakers’ lead to 112-109, and James was called for traveling with 1:53 left
For all-time scoring leader James and Curry — who has the most 3-pointers ever — this is a new chapter in the long rivalry between the superstars after they faced off in four straight NBA Finals from 2015-2018 while James played for Cleveland.
Curry scored 27 points, Splash Brother Klay Thompson had 25, and Kevon Looney grabbed a career-high 23 rebounds for his fourth game of this postseason with 20 or more. He also had 10 points and five assists. Thompson made a 3 with 5:19 to go that cut the Lakers’ lead to 112-104.
The defending champion Warriors will try to even the series in Game 2 on Thursday night back on their home floor at Chase Center, where LA fans could be heard chanting “Let’s go Lakers!” after the final buzzer.
Curry’s 3 with 9:38 left got Golden State within 99-95, but the Lakers responded with two straight scoring possessions, including James’ layup with 8:38 remaining.
Davis dominated from the opening tip, making 9 of his first 10 shots, while Russell scored 19 points and dished out six assists against his former team.
James’ 3-pointer with 5:23 left in the third put the Lakers ahead by 10, 86-76. Then Thompson’s snazzy behind-the-back pass led to a dunk by Gary Payton II over James with 3:48 to go as Golden State cut it to 86-80 and forced a Lakers timeout.
The Lakers finished off Memphis in six games Friday night and had a couple of extra recovery days to get ready as Golden State was pushed to the distance by the young Sacramento Kings and won Game 7 on Sunday. The Warriors were the first reigning champion to come back from behind 2-0 and win a playoff series.
Curry went off for a playoff career-high 50 points, an NBA record for a Game 7. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he thought his team had an advantage having just played two days earlier.
But the revamped Lakers took it to Golden State just as they did winning the final three regular-season matchups — and Los Angeles is a far different team than the one that lost 123-109 here on Oct. 18 to start the season.
The franchises’ first playoff matchup since 1991 didn’t disappoint. They hadn’t played on the postseason stage since “Run TMC” Warriors led by Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin lost in the Western Conference semifinals to Magic Johnson and James Worthy.
Thompson was determined to come out hot in Game 1 after calling his 4-for-19 day in Game 7 on Sunday at Sacramento “disgusting.” He’s been waiting his whole life to play the Lakers on the big stage, too, and scored 18 by halftime with four 3s.
He, Curry and Poole each made six 3-pointers after a season in which all three reached 200 3s and Thompson 301.
Golden State is the sixth seed and the Lakers No. 7, marking the first time a No. 6 seed has home court in the second round since the sixth-seeded Houston Rockets against the No. 7 Seattle SuperSonics in 1987.
Curry dropped to 15-8 against James in the playoffs.
LOONEY ON THE BOARDS
Looney is leading the NBA in rebounds this postseason. He had seven rebounds by the 4:31 mark of the first and 13 by halftime on the way to double-digit rebounds in his sixth straight playoff game — with four 20-plus rebound performances.
He grabbed 106 rebounds in seven games against Sacramento, including 90 with 34 on the offensive end and 27 assists in the final five games of that series.
– Thanks to Davis, the Lakers had 32 points in the paint in the first half to Golden State’s 12. The Lakers also were 16 of 17 from the free throw line in the first half and 25 for 29 overall — Davis making all eight of his attempts.
– Golden State didn’t shoot a free throw until Poole converted a three-point play 38 seconds before halftime. … The Warriors trailed 65-64 at intermission after a first half with 11 lead changes.
The winner of this series will face the winner of the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.