The highly anticipated 7-8 matchup in the West Play-In Tournament between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors, led by all-timers in LeBron James and Stephen Curry respectively, lived upto its billing.
It took a buzzer-beating deep 3-pointer from the King in the final minute to seal this one 103-100 in favour of the defending champions.
BRON HUGE THREE 🤯 pic.twitter.com/MmbwXTPGNz- NBA TV (@NBATV) May 20, 2021
James finished with a triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals in the win while Curry's game-high efficient 37 points was in vain as the Lakers flipped the defensive switch in the second half, especially in the third quarter, to come from 12 points down midway through the third period and win this game.
Here's a quick look at the biggest takeaways from the game:
Lakers league-best defence shows up in 2nd half
Courtesy of Curry's buzzer-beating triple at the half, the Los Angeles were down by their largest deficit of 13 after the first two quarters.
STEPHEN CURRY #BigShot pic.twitter.com/5M7ZxUS3UA- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 20, 2021
In the second half, however, the hosts brought out their league-best defence, especially in the third quarter. Their play on that end of the floor held the Warriors to just 24 points in the third period and 45 in the second half after they had scored 55 in the first half.
They fed their offence, which bounced back from a 42-point first-half to 61 in the second half, by forcing the visitors into a lot more turnovers.
pic.twitter.com/mkUPC92y0y- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 20, 2021
For the game, the Lakers scored 29 points of the Warriors 20 turnovers, 15 of which came in the second half.
LeBron, AD lead second-half comeback
Part of the hosts' sub-par first half was the performance of their three leading scorers in James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder. The trio went for a very quiet 13 points in the first half on a combined 4-of-28 shooting from the field.
However, they carried the load after the break as they combined for 46 of the team's 61 second-half points on 16-of-27 shooting from the field.
Even Steph had to show some love on this LeBron finish 👏 pic.twitter.com/M70CItwO0V- NBA TV (@NBATV) May 20, 2021
AD HEATING UP 😤 pic.twitter.com/UgwmpGpnT7- NBA TV (@NBATV) May 20, 2021
Davis scored 20 of his 25 and Schroder had 10 of his 12 in the second half.
In the end, the Lakers with five players in double figures with the duo of Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combining for 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field.
Curry, Warriors scrap but can't seal the deal
The Warriors rallied around Curry and fought hard to pull off the upset victory but couldn't seal it late.
Golden State received useful contributions from multiple players led by Andrew Wiggins' 21 points on 10-of-18 shooting and Draymond Green's all-round stat line of two points, nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals and three blocks.
💪 ANDREW WIGGINS 💪 pic.twitter.com/8epIQ9wtxR- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 20, 2021
With only three lead changes and six ties, the Warriors lead for a majority of this game including all of the first three quarters.
Curry scored 11 of the team's 21 fourth-quarter points, including a couple of free throws late that tied the game at 100, but he couldn't manage a shot attempt after James' dagger which more-or-less sealed the fate of this game.
The Lakers advance to the Western Conference playoff bracket as the seventh seed and will face-off in the first round against the second-seeded Phoenix Suns.
On the other hand, the Warriors will head back home to host the Memphis Grizzlies after just a day off, in a game that will decide the eighth-seeded team in the Western Conference playoff bracket.
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