Lakers 103, Warriors 100
Grizzlies 100, Spurs 96
What went down
What was deemed the biggest game of the year delivered.
First, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors delivered. They started hot and didn’t give the Los Angeles Lakers any chance to crease their sneakers.
Curry, a human cheat code, activated all the hacks and it no longer mattered who was in front of him. He ended the first half with a buzzer-beating 3 that absolutely silenced Laker Nation. The score at halftime: 55-42, Warriors.
The second half was a different story. This time, the Los Angeles Lakers delivered.
They made a quick run to start the third and took control of the lead for the first time in the game. When the fourth quarter rolled around, both teams didn’t budge, exchanging leads and tying it up like two boxers in a slugfest.
The game-changer came at the two-minute mark, when Draymond Green fouled LeBron James hard as he went up for a dunk. Not quite a playoff foul but was hard enough to send The King crashing (a play-in foul?). It sent LeBron to the line with the Warriors up a point. The momentum shifted.
With the ballgame tied at 100 with a minute left, LeBron delivered (again) with one of the biggest shots of his career: a shot clock buzzer-beating long 3 over Curry. That’s all it took.
The Warriors couldn’t buy a basket and botched their final drawn-up play. Curry led the scoring with 37 points and a bunch of insane highlights, but the game was LeBron’s.
The King finished with a triple-double: 22 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists.
Curry and the Warriors will get another shot at a playoff spot against the Memphis Grizzlies while the Lakers move on to try and defend the title.
LA’s first stop in this long climb: Phoenix.
Jonas Valanciunas showed up, flexed, and went big against the San Antonio Spurs. He dropped 23 points and grabbed 23 rebounds, marking the paint a restricted JV zone.
It was his fourth 20-20 game, the most of any player this season. He also swatted three shot attempts.
Valanciunas already breached the 20-20 mark by the third quarter, carrying the Memphis Grizzlies on his broad shoulders.
At crunch time, it was his teammate and fellow big-time baller Dillon Brooks who delivered the important buckets. Brooks finished with 24 points plus a shot at a playoff spot.
What he said
The King’s speech:
“After Draymond's finger to the eye, I was literally seeing 3 rims out there so I just shot at the middle one.”
Did you see that?
Pick any from Steph Curry’s menu of 3-point highlights and it’s going to be awesome. This one is extra special because time was running out. Also, it felt like Steph launched it as if the life of the franchise depended on it: