THE AP: SAN FRANCISCO LeBron James added 22 points and 11 rebounds while competing with Stephen Curry in their most recent postseason matchup, and the Los Angeles Lakers held off a late surge by the Golden State Warriors to win an exciting Game 1 in the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday night, 117-112. Anthony Davis had 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists, and four blocked shots.
With 9.7 seconds left, Jordan Poole had a chance to tie the game, but he missed the attempt, ending the Warriors’ late-game comeback. Curry’s 3-pointer with 1:38 remaining tied the score, and D’Angelo Russell immediately retaliated before Anthony Davis blocked Curry’s subsequent shot. With 1:05 left, James missed the first of his two free throw attempts.
Poole’s 3-pointer with 2:48 left cut the Lakers’ advantage to 112-109, and with 1:53 left James was given a traveling infraction.
For Curry, the most prolific 3-point shooter in history, and James, the all-time leading scorer, this is a new chapter in their storied rivalry after they squared off in four consecutive NBA Finals from 2015 to 2018 while James was playing for Cleveland.
Russell scored 19 points and handed out six assists against his former team, but Davis took control from the opening tip, hitting nine of his first ten attempts.
Curry broke the NBA record for a Game 7 with a playoff career-high 50 points. Steve Kerr, head coach of the Warriors, asserted that he believed his team had an advantage due to their recent two-day matchup.
The Lakers led 86-76 with 5:23 remaining in the third after James’ 3-pointer. With 3:48 left, Gary Payton II slammed the ball over James after Thompson’s deft behind-the-back pass as Golden State had just trimmed the Lakers’ lead to 86-80.
The Lakers defeated Memphis in six games on Friday night, and they had a few additional days to rest up before Game 7 of their series against Golden State, which the young Sacramento Kings ultimately won on Sunday. The Warriors were the first defending champions to win a postseason series after falling behind 2-0.
Los Angeles is a far different team from the one that lost 123-109 here on Oct. 18 to open the season, and the Lakers’ makeover paid off as they defeated Golden State in the same manner as they did in winning the final three regular-season games.
The first playoff game for the team since 1991 wasn’t disappointing. Since the “Run TMC” Warriors, with Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin, lost to Magic Johnson and James Worthy in the Western Conference semifinals, they hadn’t participated in playoff competition
Thompson was motivated to start well in Game 1 after describing his 4-for-19 performance in Game 7 on Sunday at Sacramento as “disgusting.” He’s been waiting his entire life to take on the Lakers on such a large platform, and he scored 18 points with four three-pointers by halftime.
After a season in which all three of them topped 200 3-pointers and Thompson 301, he, Curry, and Poole each made six of them.
The first time a No. 6 seed has had a home court in the second round since the sixth-seeded Houston Rockets versus the No. 7 Seattle SuperSonics in 1987, Golden State is the sixth seed and the Lakers are the seventh.
Curry lost to James in the playoffs, dropping to 15-8.
BOARDS WITH LOONEY
This playoff, Looney has the most rebounds in the NBA. He grabbed seven rebounds by the 4:31 mark of the first quarter and 13 by halftime, bringing his playoff rebound total to double digits for the sixth time in a row with four games featuring 20 or more rebounds.
In seven games versus Sacramento, he pulled down 106 rebounds, including 90 in the final five games of that series with 34 on the offensive end and 27 assists.
Because of Davis, the Lakers outscored Golden State 32 to 12 in the first half in the paint. The Lakers also made 25 of 29 free throws overall, including all eight of Davis’ tries, and were 16 of 17 in the first half.