Anthony Davis proved to be the most dominant player on the floor, impacting the game on both sides of the ball against the defending champs.
Davis had 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocks to propel the Los Angeles Lakers to a 117-112 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday evening at Chase Stadium.
“The biggest thing for us is not to get happy, stay humble, respect our opponent, but also know that there’s a ton of work left to be done,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “It’s not the first one [to win a game], not the first with the greatest performance individually [to win the series].”
The Eight-time All-Star became the first Laker since Shaquille O’ Neal in 2004 to record a 30-point and 20-rebound game.
“The guys gave the ball to me in the right spots,” Davis said. “A lot of it came out of pick-and-roll, post-ups, some offensive rebounds. Just being aggressive when I do catch [the ball], looking to score, looking to play make to the other guys.”
“I thought AD had a great game. Obviously, he dominated and he blocked four shots and altered some others,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s what this team has been doing now for the last few months. They have been one of the best defensive teams in the league for a reason and he’s a huge part of that.”
LeBron James finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who had five players finish in double figures. D’Angelo Russell had 19 points to go along with six assists and Dennis Schroder was also key with 19 points off the bench. Austin Reaves added 10.
Stephen Curry finished with 27 points two days after his heroic 50-point Game 7 outing against the Kings on Sunday. Klay Thompson had 25 points and Jordan Poole added 21 points off the bench. Kevon Looney recorded a career-high 23 rebounds, while also adding 10 points and five assists.
Golden State made 21 three-pointers on the night as Curry, Thompson and Poole each added six apiece. Los Angeles converted 25 of 29 free throws while the Warriors had only six attempts for the game.
Davis set the tone early, making 9 of his first 10 shots while tallying 23 points and 11 rebounds to help LA lead 65-64 through 24 minutes of play.
“The #3 will be up in the rafters… he continues to show why he’s one of the best players we have in this league,” James said.
The Lakers took their largest lead of the game, 112-98 after a James jump shot with just under six minutes to play but that quickly evaporated after a big 14-0 run from Golden State.
The run was capped off by back-to-back threes from Poole and Curry that tied the game at 112-112 with 1:38 remaining.
Russell gave the Lakers a two-point lead after a layup and James added a free throw on the next possession to give LA a 115-112 lead 1:05 left.
Golden State had a chance late but Poole missed a three-pointer to tie it with 9.7 seconds left as the Lakers held on to capture a 117-112 win.
“We’ve been playing playoff basketball for about 2 1/2 months now just to punch our clock to be able to play right now in the postseason,” James said. “We were very resilient tonight. … We know how great they are on their home floor, so to withstand that, it’s another good step for our ballclub.”
The Lakers will attempt to take a commanding 2-0 series lead against the Warriors on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.
“It’s going to be a different game,” Davis said. “They’re going to make adjustments. We’re going to make adjustments. The building will be probably a little bit louder. Obviously, they don’t want to go down 0-2. The crowd will be more into it. … I’m going to continue to be aggressive.”