LeBron James was once again at his best when it mattered the most. James delivered a strong all-around performance in the play-in tournament on Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors and secured a 103-100 win for the Los Angeles Lakers. This included a clutch go-ahead 34-foot 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter.
The game didn’t start well for the Lakers, who found themselves 13 points behind at the half. To shake things up, Los Angeles’ head coach Frank Vogel decided to pull out Andre Drummond and put Anthony Davis at center. This proved to be a turning point in the contest, as the Lakers rallied back and almost erased the entire deficit.
The fourth quarter saw teams exchanging points, and at that point, it was anyone’s game. The only difference was that one team had James and the other didn’t.
With around a minute left in the contest, both sides had 100 points apiece. The Lakers had the ball, but it looked like they wouldn’t do much with it. At one point, James dished the ball to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the paint, but the 28-year-old shooting guard found himself surrounded by Golden State’s defense.
With nowhere to go, Caldwell-Pope abandoned the layup and gave the ball back. With the shooting clock winding down, James launched a three and hit nothing but the bottom of the net to make it 103-100.
The Warriors tried to respond quickly, but the Lakers tightened up their defense and managed to come up with a win.
James finished the game with a triple-double, scoring 22 points to go with 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Davis had 25 points and 12 boards, while Dennis Schroeder, Alex Caruso, and Caldwell-Pope also achieved double digits scoring.
Golden State was led by Stephen Curry as expected, with this year’s MVP candidate scoring 37 points. Andrew Wiggins had 21 points, and Kent Bazemore and Jordan Poole each scored 10 apiece.
The win propelled the Lakers to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and will see them play the No. 2-seeded Phoenix Suns in the first round. The Warriors, on the other hand, will look to punch their playoff ticket in an elimination game against the Memphis Grizzlies.