Stephen Curry did everything he could Monday night in Los Angeles.
But in the end, it was Lonnie Walker — yes, Lonnie Walker — who pushed the Lakers just a game away from reaching the Western Conference Finals.
The Lakers fended off Curry and the Golden State Warriors 104-101 in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series Monday night. After Walker fired a huge run to put the Lakers back in the fourth quarter, he lost all 15 of his points in the final period of the three-point win.
“For him to be as young as he is, for him to have that professionalism, to go out there and be ready when his number is called, we don’t win this game without Lonnie Walker tonight, that’s for sure,” LeBron James He said on TNT after winning.
The Warriors only held a three-point lead going into halftime Monday night, thanks to a massive 14-6 rally to close out the second quarter. Although both teams traded runs for third, it was Curry and the Warriors who held the lead by the end of the period. Curry even flogged a wild helper for Dante Defincenzo To stifle the Lakers ran late in the quarter.
But that lead evaporated almost immediately to start the fourth quarter. The Lakers opened the period 11-4 largely buoyed by Walker who immediately tied things up. Then the Lakers held firm, confining the Warriors to just a Curry layup in the final three minutes of the game, while Walker and James pushed them to victory by three points.
“This is something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life and it’s showing,” Walker said on TNT. “With due diligence and mental fortitude, I was able to show what I was capable of.”
Curry and the Warriors got good looks at the end, too. He had a pair of missed hits with less than 30 seconds left in the game that could have set them back. But Walker hit a pair of free throws after those fouls, and Draymond Green I turned the ball over to officially give the Lakers the win.
“We’re just a flexible bunch,” James said on TNT. “They hit us with haymaker after haymaker after haymaker trying to get us to fall. We stayed in the fight. It’s a 48-minute match, it’s a 12-round boxing match, and we stayed here for 12 rounds.”
James led the Lakers with 27 points and 10 rebounds in the win. And Anthony Davis, who scored 19 in the first half, finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Austin Reeves finished with 21 points. The Lakers outscored the Warriors 27-17 in the last period.
Curry finished with 31 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds in what was an amazing performance and only the third three playoff appearances in his career. Andrew Wiggins He added 17 points, and Clay Thompson He finished with nine points on three three-pointers. The Warriors shot only 12 of 41 from behind the arc, and only went 6 of 17 from the field in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors escape the chaos of the first half
Just minutes into the match at the Crypto.com Arena, Warriors guard Gary Payton suddenly stood upright on the defensive end and headed toward the Warriors bench. Something was clearly wrong, but it was hard to see why. After the Warriors stopped and pushed the play to the other end, however, Payton walked off the field and headed straight back into the locker room.
However, the other four teammates had no idea Payton was leaving. This resulted in a very strange green pass to the Lakers assistant coach.
There is an unproven theory that Payton actually vomited. But watch this video at your own risk.
Payton made the start instead Jamical Green. He’s only averaged over 11 minutes per game so far in the series. To his credit, Payton returned to the game just a few minutes later as if nothing had happened. He finished with 15 points and shot 7-of-9 from the field.
That wasn’t the only thing Golden State had to contend with in the first half. Midway through the second quarter, Green got a pass and was heading for a layup when James bumped him and sent him sprawling down the field. Green’s head whipped backwards as he fell too, hitting the court hard.
That left Green down for a while in obvious pain.
After review, the officials determined it was just a common foul on James and Green stayed in the match. He made an amazing move after only a few moments, and it was clear that he was fine.
He finished the game with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Game 5 of the series is set Wednesday night at the Chase Center in San Francisco. A Lakers win would put them back in their first Western Conference Finals since winning the title at Walt Disney World in 2020.