LOS ANGELES — Playing their first home semifinal game in eight years, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like the first true championship contenders for a while.
The No. 7 LA seed won 109-95 on Thursday night to lead 2-1 in their opening match against the No. 2 Phoenix Suns, with Anthony Davis (34 points, 11 rebounds) and LeBron James (21 points nine). assists) looks like the duo that led the Lakers to last year’s NBA championships.
After Davis’ right leg injury and James’ right ankle injury. This caused the pair to miss a total of 63 games in the regular season. And the Lakers have struggled to reunite their stars, having dropped eight of their 10 games from late April to early May ̵1; the team has clearly taken a sharp turn.
The Suns and Lakers messed up in the first half of Game 3, with Davis stretching his left knee on Devin Booker’s chasing block, and the LA Suns star scored just three points at the break. That’s when James which parked itself in a row Several series up to that point. change his method
“I didn’t read the game like I would in the first half,” said James, who scored 10 points in three as the Lakers scored better than the Suns by the same margin. “Come back to the locker room. Mentally conditioned me one by one that I felt it would work for our team. And we were able to spark a third run.”
Lakers coach Frank Vogel says James’ efforts made all the difference.
“He’s changed the whole game,” Vogel said after LA’s eighth win in nine games. “His thoughts just kept popping up for the rest of the game tonight.”
James, 36, scored five of his seven drives into the hole on Thursday. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, statistics matter. It’s not just for the controls that keep LA gaining momentum. But in contrast to Games 1 and 2, when James had only two drives into the hoop. by scoring only once
“Obviously It’s been a tough year for me. In terms of my ankle body and coping with it And still trying to keep it where it was before the injury,” James said, “but every day is a step forward. And I will continue to work on my treatment all the time. Get to where it was before the injury.”
Davis followed suit. Pushing a visible limp without asking to leave the game.
“It’s the playoffs. It’s very rare for me to leave the game,” Davis said. try not to fall Guess I’m hyperextending it a bit.
“Just warm up, loosen it and want to keep going. It felt good throughout the rest of the game. Really didn’t have any problems with it … it was full of adrenaline. So let’s see. how do i feel tomorrow go for treatment Went for treatment on Saturday. and prepare to go on Sunday.”
Vogel said Davis’ stubbornness was second only to James’ tactical shift.
“We need it,” he said of Davis. “We need him in there to get this W, he knows, he’s going to do anything to get this W and has to play through the pain, play through. I mean, he limp up and down a few times on the ground. We’re talking to the staff and the medical team like, ‘Maybe we have to get him out’ and they’re saying he’s doing well, safe, it’s just playing through the pain. And it’s just AD’s wild and aggressive performance.”
It was a difficult turning point for the Suns, who hold the second-best record in basketball in the regular season. After winning Game 1, they didn’t just lose two matches in a row. But also saw Thursday turn into laughs, dropping 22 points. Two of their players – Booker and Jae Crowder – were fired at the last minute.
Booker was explicitly called for a foul-2. from pushing Dennis Airborne Schroeder descends to the ground with 35.4 seconds remaining.
“My mom raised me right,” said Schroeder, who scored 20, when asked if he might have gotten under Booker’s skin. which provokes a foul “When someone speaks to me first, I will say it back. If someone speaks to me without respect I will do the same. Finally we about to go to war
“No one is going to disrespect me. Lastly, I just spoke back and someone looked at me as too sensitive and insulted me.”
Crowder was called for a technical foul and was sent off as officials reviewed Booker’s foul in the replay.
Crowder also had reason for frustration, scoring just 2-for-9 from the field (1v7 of 3) and losing for the 15th time in 18 professional play-off games against James.
The Lakers star played against Crowder in the fourth quarter, deliberately yo-yo the ball through his legs with a solitary possession, leaving 7,825 fans on their feet. Turn and score from a pretty layup to push the Lakers to 91-70 with seven minutes and 32 seconds remaining.
“For me and for our ballclub, we always try to play to get each other excited. We can get fans involved, make our fans excited about it. Because it makes the game very exciting,” James said. “Play can be a swing momentum that can work in our favor, so that is one of the instances where we have the opportunity to build momentum playing. And we can deliver.”