An amazing night for the NBA and its fans. With everyone questioning how this fanless bubble product will look and feel, the two Thursday games look and feel, well, exactly like The NBA game. And they both go down to the wire. First, Jazz hold back Pelicans When Brandon Ingram’s The last 3-pointer seconds are released, then Lakers exceed Clippers 103-101 on the terrible LeBron James a shot that turns into a crazy put-back that wins the game.
After Paul George – fantastic for the Clippers – drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game with 28.7 seconds to play, LeBron dropped at the other end with the opportunity to run the hour to five seconds before having to shoot. Instead, he installed an awful, 18-footer with Marcus Morris covered his entire body, with 15 seconds left. He thought he had enough contact, but didn’t get the whistle. Contact or not, that he attacks as fast as that is a surprise.
Do not worry. LeBron followed the lag for put-back.
If the Clippers rebounds the ball, it is the final decision of a bad match by LeBron. But give LeBron credit for continuing the game while the defenders lose focus for a split second. Somewhere there was an old school coach shouting, “Look, kids! Follow your shots!” Sometimes it really works.
LeBron is out of most matches, and looks like it will be a familiar story about the shooting struggle against the Clippers, who have been the theme of this season. And overall, that. He shot only 7-for-19. But he turned it on late, hitting some 3 big before ending with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Anthony Davis took slack for LeBron, finishing with 38 points and eight boards, although he was also not very efficient from the field. He just got to the line 17 times, connecting 16 of them. He was very active all night at both ends. He is a monster in the third quarter. I don’t often agree with Charles Barkley’s true basketball judgment, but I do this one: Davis represents one of the great advantages the Lakers have over the Clippers, and he must be big if the Lakers can finally pass the Clips in the playoffs.
For the Clippers, this loss comes with that qualification Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell not playing. The Clippers’ bench, usually anchored by Williams and Harrell (which is one of the best pick-and-roll combos in the league, bench or vice versa), is a minus-40 combination on Thursday, while the Lakers bench is plus-35 mostly on strength Kyle Kuzma and Waiter Dion, which is combined for 27 points and 10 boards in a 9-from-18 shooting.
Don’t be too quick to say this is definitely a different result if Williams and Harrell play. No doubt they will make an offensive difference, but self-defense is another story. The last time the Lakers and Clippers played, LeBron mercilessly chased Williams in a coffin and killed him one on one. Doc Rivers really has to think about the composition of the closing players if the Lakers and Clippers meet in the playoffs.
One thing is certain for the Clippers: Their stars are in the form of a playoff, or at least they are Thursday night. Kawhi Leonard went for 28 points and was a game-height plus-16, while Paul George finished with 30 points on an 11-from-17 shooting, including 6-for-11 from outside the arc. Kawhi reached his place, and George was in a beautiful rhythm. They will become a duo that is not possible to stop playoff time.
Then again, so does LeBron and Davis. That’s why this LA battle was prepared to become a bubble fight. You can make the case that both squad is a better team. Clippers are more balanced, I believe, but LeBron and Davis are great. And by the way, LeBron can still get AFTER you defensive when he wants. He can still bring the team to the championship, obviously. on Thursday night, all he did was lift the Lakers to reopen the win in the wrong season … of course … as Frank Vogel did.
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