Lakers rally past Warriors 104-101, take 3-1 series lead

Lakers rally past Warriors 104-101, take 3-1 series lead

After the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers injured Lonnie Walker, who fell out of their rotation.

Walker didn’t whine. He cheered. Practiced harder. Waited to shine.

When it came, the unheralded pro with unwavering confidence outshot Stephen Curry in the fourth quarter of a playoff triumph that put his Lakers on the brink of an unexpected trip to the Western Conference finals.

“(It’s) the greatest feeling you could ever imagine,” Walker smiled. “This was my childhood dream.”

The Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 104-101 on Monday night thanks to Walker’s 15 fourth-quarter points.

LeBron James scored 27 points and Anthony Davis had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who moved one win away from defeating the champions with their eighth consecutive home triumph since March.

Walker’s return to the Lakers’ rotation helped overcome Curry’s third career postseason triple-double. He started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to trim Golden State’s lead to four. Walker scored nine in Game 2 and 12 in Game 3 after missing Game 1. Most are surprised by his performance in this series, but Walker and his teammates are not.

Walker claimed he’s a scorer first. I’m self-confident. I know what I can do, and after a lot of sacrifice and gym time, it finally came today.”

Walker’s 1:53 jumper put him ahead. Curry’s layup with 1:05 left cut the Lakers’ lead to one, but he missed a long jumper and a 3-point try on Golden State’s following possession before Walker scored two free throws with 15 seconds left and Los Angeles earned one more defensive stop to win.

“We don’t win this game tonight without Lonnie Walker,” James remarked. It will be harder than this game. We know. We know.”

San Francisco hosts Game 5 Wednesday night.

The sixth-seeded Warriors must overcome a 3-1 series deficit for the second time in team history to defend their NBA title. Curry scored 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists in his 13th career triple-double. Golden State repeated in the 2016 Western Conference finals.

It seems like a 3-1 loss. “You go home, take care of business, get a win, and momentum is right back in your favor,” coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s it. The Lakers did a terrific job of holding serve here, so now we have to go back and win at home and turn the momentum.”

The Warriors led by 12 late in the third quarter, but the Lakers chased down the champs and finished them with Walker leading the way ahead of James and Davis, who hugged Walker at the buzzer.

Darvin Ham, Lakers coach, called the kid attractive. “He fell out of the rotation for no reason, but he remained professional. In the playoffs, he stayed upbeat and worked hard every day. When your thinking is right, your body follows.”

Golden State’s Gary Payton II scored a season-high 15 points in his first start, but Klay Thompson scored nine points in 41 minutes. After making 21 3-pointers in San Francisco, the Warriors made just 25 in Los Angeles. Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points.

“We’re optimistic,” Payton added. We’re confident. We need one more late run, and you create that space and opportunity.”

Kerr switched to a three-guard starting lineup to affect the Los Angeles defense that held the Warriors to 97 points in Game 3, and it mostly worked: Davis, who blocked 11 shots in the first three games, was unable to protect the rim when his defensive matchups required him to go out to the perimeter, and the Warriors capitalized with 52 points in the paint.

Austin Reaves scored 21 points and the Lakers made all 20 free throws.

Walker’s gutsy, timely effort helped the Lakers win after D’Angelo Russell scored just four points on 1-for-10 shooting after a great Game 3.

Curry earned his 13th triple-double early in the fourth quarter, but he missed nine of 10 3-point attempts across three quarters. The NBA’s greatest 3-point shooter went 3-14.


Warriors: Payton started for Portland on Feb. 8. Last summer, he signed a three-year contract with the Trail Blazers, who sent him back to the Warriors in February. Kevon Looney started Game 1 versus Los Angeles, JaMychal Green Game 2 and Game 3.

Lakers: After blocking 19 shots in the first three games, LA’s only block in Game 4 was James’ soaring swat of Curry’s fourth-quarter layup. Jack Nicholson sat courtside again in their last three home games. The 86-year-old Lakers superfan, Chris Pratt, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, Dave Chappelle, Dustin Hoffman, Kim Kardashian, Colin Jost, and Flea headlined another celebrity-studded audience. NBA AP:

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