NBA: Lonnie Walker IV's late heroics lift Lakers over Warriors for 3-1 lead | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Lonnie Walker IV’s late heroics lift Lakers over Warriors for 3-1 lead

/ 01:01 PM May 09, 2023

LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers Lonnie Walker NBA

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers high fives Rui Hachimura #28 during the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors in game four of the Western Conference Semifinal Playoffs at Arena on May 08, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

LeBron James finished with 27 points and Lonnie Walker IV scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Lakers built a commanding lead in the Western Conference semifinals with a 104-101 victory over the visiting Golden State Warriors on Monday.

Anthony Davis scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and Austin Reaves added 21 points as Los Angeles took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 will be played in San Francisco on Wednesday.


The Lakers improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.


Los Angeles trailed by as many as 12 points in the third quarter before rallying for the victory behind Walker, who shot 6 of 9 from the field in the final period. Walker had 21 total points in the first three games of the series.

LeBron said he had urged Walker before the game to be ready to help out.

“I’ve been telling him ‘Lonnie you stay ready. We’re going to need you at some point’,” James said.

“For him to be as young as he is, to have that professionalism, to come out and stay ready when his number was called — we don’t win this game without Lonnie Walker tonight, that’s for sure.”

Walker said he had been primed to make a contribution.

“It means the world to me, truly,” Walker said.


“By the grace of god I was given an opportunity to play. Night-in, night-out I’ve been going to the gym, everyone’s been telling me to stay ready — Bron, coach, all of them. So when the call came I was locked in the entire time.”

Golden State’s Stephen Curry amassed 31 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, but Klay Thompson was held to nine points on 3-of-11 shooting from the floor and 3-of-9 success from 3-point range.

Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points and surprise starter Gary Payton II added 15 for the Warriors, who did reel off three consecutive victories in the first round against the Sacramento Kings, but none of those contests was an elimination game.

Turnovers by Draymond Green and Curry in the final 10 seconds doomed Golden State’s chances. Walker made two free throws with 15 seconds remaining for the game’s final points.

The Warriors pushed in front 52-49 at halftime and looked to take control when they went on a 16-2 run in the third quarter to take a 73-61 lead. However, Los Angeles withstood the burst and trailed just 84-77 after three quarters.

A 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter gave the Lakers an 86-84 lead with 9:27 remaining after a layup from Walker, their first advantage since early in the second half.

Thompson drained a 3-pointer from the corner for a 99-96 lead with 3:01 remaining, but a 6-0 run by the Lakers on four James free throws and a Walker basket put the hosts up 102-99 with 1:19 left.

“We’re just a resilient bunch,” James said. “They hit us with haymaker after haymaker after haymaker, trying to get us to fall.

“We just stayed in the fight. It’s a 48-minute game, a 12-round boxing match. And we stayed in it for 12 rounds and were able to pull through.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr paid tribute to Walker’s fourth-quarter performance.

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“I don’t know whether he scored all their points in the fourth quarter but it felt like it,” Kerr said. “He made a huge impact.

“A lot of times that’s what the playoffs are about. A close game and somebody comes in who you don’t expect to make an impact. The fourth was about Walker.”

The Warriors continued to get limited minutes from Kevon Looney following an illness, while Payton headed to the locker room once in each half with an undisclosed ailment. Payton started for the Warriors for the first time this season. With reports from Agence France-Presse


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TAGS: Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

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