Two forced shots from Stephen Curry then a last possession concluded by a loss of ball. This could be the moment when the play-offs and the season of reigning champion Golden State turned upside down. Monday night, the Warriors fought to the end but were unable to overthrow the Los Angeles Lakers on the floor of the latter (104-101), who are only one victory away from reaching the final. of the Western Conference (3 wins to 1 in the series). The stifling end of the game turned to the advantage of LeBron James and his teammates when Steph Curry, despite a huge game with a triple double (31 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds, 3 steals), did not find the key against Anthony Davis. And left the Warriors counter stuck at two points in the last three minutes of the game.
It must be said that the Warriors star had been “banned” by some of his most important teammates. Klay Thompson only scored nine points at 3 of 11 in shooting while Jordan Poole never opened his score counter, remaining stuck ten minutes into the game after missing his four shots and losing two balls. The Lakers were able to count on their leaders – 27 points for James, 23 and 15 rebounds for Davis – and a less expected hero. If Austin Reaves (21 points, 4 assists) had already flamed this season, Lonnie Walker had been a little less highlighted since his arrival from the San Antonio Spurs in the offseason. After a few starts at the start of the season, he had seen his playing time decrease until he almost left the rotation in the play-offs. He picked the best moment to explode, scoring all of his fifteen points of the night in the final quarter and giving the Lakers the spark they needed to outrun their opponents. Alone, he scored almost as many points as the Warriors in the last period (17).
“I want to talk about Lonnie Walker first and foremost, LeBron James joked during the post-game on-court interview. I always told him to be ready, that we would need him at some point. Despite his age (24), he showed this professionalism. And without him, we wouldn’t have won this game. »
The tone was necessarily different on the side of Golden State, in bad shape before Game 5 in San Francisco on Wednesday evening. Warriors coach Steve Kerr complained in particular about a few unfavorable whistles on his team’s screens deemed illegal by the referees. “The Lakers understand the game well and know how to create fouls. I think they made a few dives and were rewarded for that.”in particular whistled the one who could lose his first series of play-offs against a team from the West after 19 won in a row since 2015.
The Warriors no longer have the right to make mistakes. The franchise has managed once in its history to qualify after being down 3 to 1 in the play-offs. It was in the 2016 conference final against the Oklahoma City Thunder of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. In the final that year, they then experienced the opposite scenario against LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.