LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns Thursday night 109-95 at Staples Center to lead in the series 2-1. LeBron James got off to a slow start to the game with just five units made in the first quarter. In the second quarter he went without points, with zero of three attempts on field goals.
“I wasn’t reading the game in the first half, I made some personal mental adjustments that I knew would help the group and it showed in the third set,” LeBron James said after the game.
In the second half, LeBron’s game took a turn; He contributed 16 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal in the third and fourth quarter.
“(LeBron in the second half) It changed the game completely. His mentality redirected the course with his desire to get to the rim and then the whole team did, ”Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 28 points in the third quarter alone. According to ESPN’s statistics department, it’s the most points the two superstars have scored in a single quarter since they became teammates in the Lakers.
“Today we feed on people, they gave us a lot of energy and Staples like that was just what we needed. We were able to score, make plays on defense and we will have to repeat it in Game 4, ”said Anthony Davis.
After an unusual performance by Anthony Davis in Game 1, the Los Angeles star once again sealed another dominant performance as he usually does on the highest stage. Davis contributed double-double of 34 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block.
“We are finding our rhythm as a group little by little and just at the right time,” Davis said. “LeBron imposed the intensity in the third quarter to separate us on the scoreboard. It was a good victory for us ”.
Lakers earned their first postseason victory at Staples Center in 9 years. The last playoff victory for the purple and gold was on May 18, 2012 against Oklahoma City. The fans played an important role tonight, energizing the players.
“It is always special to play in front of the Lakers fans, hopefully as we move forward and the restrictions are lowered, there may be more fans present. It was a special night, we wanted to reward their loyalty and play at the height ”, said LeBron who had final numbers of 21 units, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and a steal in 38 minutes.
Suns star Devin Booker was ejected from the game after a dangerous play where he displaced Dennis Schroder in the air.
“The play was not a basketball play. It can be very dangerous to knock someone out of the air like that, ”LeBron said about it.
Booker showed signs of frustration, something that could have been a factor in his infraction on Schroder, as he did not find his rhythm in the game. Part of this was thanks to the intense defensive work exerted by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Wesley Matthews. Booker went 6-of-19 on shooting from the field.
Caldwell-Pope did not finish the game due to a leg concussion. The Lakers player hopes to be well for Sunday, after rest and treatment in the next two days. Anthony Davis landed awkwardly on a jump in the second quarter, but was not affected in his performance despite some knee discomfort, “I felt good, it’s the playoffs, it will be very rare for me to leave the floor for something like that, ”Davis said.
On Sunday at Staples Center, Game 4 of the first postseason round will take place between the Lakers and Suns, before traveling back to Phoenix for the fifth.