The challenge for the Los Angeles Lakers in this season finale is huge, and the effort they are making without LeBron James can run out of reward in a scenario that leads them to the play-in tournament access to the playoffs unless their rivals, Portland and Dallas, fail in at least one of the three games remaining for the season.
Against the New York Knicks, one of the most fit teams in the competition, the Angelenos pulled caste, defense and cold blood to win 101-99 after overtime at the Staples Center. It came out expensive because Talen Horton-Tucker nailed a triple to advance on the scoreboard with 21.1 seconds left by the end of added time and because the Knicks then failed in final possession.
New York also showed chaste when going back a 98-93 against in the absence of two minutes from the end thanks to the excellence of the former Lakers Julius Randle, which ended a game with 23 leadership changes with 31 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Randle saw reduced in a key action by Anthony Davis and Wesley Matthews, hero in the final moments of the last quarter by getting a clap after offensive rebound who tied the game and took it to extra time.
There Horton-Tucker shone with 7 of his 13 points in the party, to which he added 5 rebounds and 10 assists. Kyle Kuzma’s 23 points from the bench led a choral effort by the Lakers, who watched as Davis ended up bruised and exhausted after finishing with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
The interior, which played 43 minutes, was exhausted and explained in a press videoconference that felt strong pains in the groin and that he will try to continue playing despite the problems. “Most likely I will struggle with it and play with it, but I don’t want to drag it along either.”, commented AD, who along with his teammates expects a possible return of LeBron this next morning.
Andre Drummond He was also satisfied with the victory and his performance after contributing 16 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in one of his best matches with the purple and gold jersey. Marc Gasol, again set within rotation Angelina, participated in the triumph with 3 rebounds and 4 assists in 17 minutes from the bench.
The final exhibition of THT was given to his childhood idol, a Derrick Rose whom he saw succeed as a child in Chicago. Rose was one of the main exponents of the Knicks in the duel and ended with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals ball. Beyond him and Randle, no other Knickerbocker scored in double digits.
With defeat, New York falls to sixth place in the East (38-31) despite having the same record as the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks.
Despite having fallen to play-in spots, the Lakers They have won
without LeBron or Dennis Schroder three of his last five games against some of the best teams in the league: Knicks, Suns, Blazers, Clippers and Nuggets. The key has been what already gave them a championship last year: a top-level defense.