By Adrian Stewart Co
LeBron James drained a go-ahead triple as the Los Angeles Lakers prevailed over Golden State Warriors, 103-100, in the 2020-2021 NBA Season play-in tournament on Wednesday (Thursday in the Philippines) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
With the score tied at 100-all, James converted a buzzer beating triple from way beyond the arc to surge the defending champions Lakers ahead, 103-100, with 57 seconds left.
The Warriors have multiple opportunities to send the match into overtime but the Lakers’ defense swarmed on Stephen Curry until the final buzzer to preserve the victory.
James finished the match with triple-double 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Anthony Davis led the defending champions Lakers with double-double 25 points and 12 rebounds.
The victory clinched the Lakers the no. 7 seed in the NBA Western Conference playoffs and will face no. 2 ranked Phoenix Suns in the best-of-seven first round series.
Curry finished with 37 points, including six three-point conversions, Andrew Wiggins added 21 markers, while Kent Bazemore and Jordan Poole had 10 markers each for the Warriors.
The Warriors will now face Memphis Grizzlies on Friday (Saturday in the Philippines) for the eighth and final playoffs seat in the Western Conference with the winner battling top-seed Utah Jazz in the first round series.
The Grizzlies kept its playoffs hopes alive following a 100-96 escape over San Antonio Spurs in the play-in tournament for the no. 9 and no. 10 ranked squads.
Holding to an 87-85 lead late in the fourth, the Grizzlies got two free throws from Ja Morant, a triple from Kyle Anderson and an inside hit from Jonas Valanciunas for a 94-87 lead.
The Spurs made its last push as they came to as close as 96-99 following two triples by Rudy Gay but Morant secured the victory for the Grizzlies with a free throw.
Dillon Brooks led the Grizzlies with 24 points, Valanciunas had double-double 23 points and 23 rebounds, while Morant contributed 20 markers, six rebounds and six assists.
LOS ANGELES 103 – Davis 25, James 22, Caruso 14, Schroder 12, Caldwell-Pope 10, Kuzma 6, Drummond 4, Harrell 4, Matthews 3, Horton-Tucker 3.
GOLDEN STATE 100 – Curry 37, Wiggins 21, Bazemore 10, Poole 10, Toscano-Anderson 9, Looney 6, Mulder 5, Green 2.
Quarterscores: 22-28, 42-55, 77-79, 103-100./ASC, WDJ