The Los Angeles Lakers took Game 1 of their Western Conference semi-final series against the Golden State Warriors, 117-112. Anthony Davis led the way for the Lakers.
Davis, the Lakers’ big man, ended with 30 points, 23 rebounds, 5 assists, and four blocks, making a bigger impression than headliners Steph Curry and LeBron James combined.
Now only Tim Duncan and Anthony Davis have scored at least 30 points, grabbed at least 20 rebounds, dished out at least 5 assists, and blocked at least 3 shots in a playoff game within the last 45 years.
The Lakers, in a battle of contrasting styles, were expected to win by a wide margin in the paint (54-28) and at the free throw line (25-5).
Lakers Hold On for Victory Against Warriors in Game 1, a Thrilling Playoff Battle
However, it was clear that the Warriors had the upper hand from deep, as they shot 21 threes to the Lakers’ 6.
Because to the timely shooting of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole, the Warriors never gave up hope despite falling behind by 10 points in the fourth quarter.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, they made NBA history as the first three players to ever make six threes in a playoff game.
Just under 90 seconds remained in the game after Curry tied it with a three-point jumper, but the Lakers quickly regained the lead thanks to a basket by D’Angelo Russell.
To cap off the Lakers’ 117-112 victory, Anthony Davis swatted away Curry’s effort at tying the game.
After the Lakers took the lead, 115-112, with 10 seconds remaining, Poole had a good look at tying the game with a 3-pointer but missed.
Even though Charles Barkley indicated after the game that he wouldn’t have taken the shot, the way Jordan Poole had been shooting, it made sense to back himself in.
Saying, “I don’t like that shot at all,” he eventually came to that conclusion.
Here’s the Last Shot Attempt of Jordan Poole to Tie the Game
"I don't like that shot at all."
Chuck, Shaq and Kenny react to Jordan Poole's missed 3-pointer near end of Lakers-Warriors Game 1 pic.twitter.com/JMwq0FvmWA
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 3, 2023
Steve Kerr, head coach of the Warriors, had no problem with Poole’s call, telling reporters that it was a “pretty good look” after Steph Curry had been double-teamed.
“That’s a shot he can hit,” Kerr said.
I feel quite content with that asset. Jordan already has six three-pointers. For us, it was a fantastic opportunity.
Steve Kerr didn't have a problem with Jordan Poole's late missed 3-pointer after seeing Steph Curry double-teamed:
"Pretty good look. That’s a shot he can hit. Really happy with that possession. Jordan had six threes already. It was a great shot for us."
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) May 3, 2023
Tyrese Haliburton, a standout player for the Indiana Pacers, agreed, saying that he “would have shot that too.”
While Anthony Davis was the team’s shining light, the contributions of the supporting cast would have been just as encouraging to coach Darvin Ham had the game-winning shot gone in.
LeBron James played a typical game for a great player on the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 22 points, grabbing 11 boards, dishing out five assists, and blocking three shots.
There were lots of strong contributions from players across the board, but L.A.’s success in the playoffs will depend heavily on the performances of some of its lesser-known players.
D’Angelo Russell scored 19 points, dished out six assists, stole a ball, and blocked a shot, while Dennis Schroder scored 19 points off the bench while being a defensive force.
Lakers Overcome Early Deficit to Take Game 1 Against Warriors in Playoff Series
Jarred Vanderbilt, who did a terrific job of containing Curry, finished with eight points, six rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. The late 10-point effort from Austin Reaves was the icing for the Lakers’ road victory and early 1-0 series lead.
Curry and Thompson scored a combined 52 points for Golden State, and Kevon Looney added 15 points and a career-high 23 rebounds. Meanwhile, Poole showed his potential in limited minutes by scoring 21 points (including six threes) off the bench.
The Lakers’ 40-point destruction of the Grizzlies in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals sent a message to the rest of the NBA. But they also would have known that the Warriors presented a unique threat.
Defending against Golden State’s speed, passing, and shooting would take major readjustments. Anthony Davis described the early stages of Game 1 as “controlled chaos” in his postgame interview with ESPN, and the Lakers appeared flustered. It was clear early on as the Warriors jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes, forcing the Lakers to call a timeout.
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