The Los Angeles Lakers survived an epic double overtime thriller against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, coming out on top 145-144 in one of the most entertaining NBA games this season. Despite a sensational 46-point performance from Stephen Curry, the Lakers withstood his would-be game-winning shot attempt plus a controversial non-call on Draymond Green to escape with the narrow victory.
Curry was magnificent for the Warriors, pouring in 46 points on efficient 17-35 shooting including a blistering 9-21 from downtown. He also dished out 7 assists and pulled down 3 rebounds while playing nearly the entire game. But his heroics weren’t quite enough to will the Warriors past the Lakers, who were led by an incredible triple-double from 39-year-old LeBron James.
James turned back the clock with 36 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists in 47 minutes of non-stop action. Big man Anthony Davis added 28 points and 14 boards for LA while Russell Westbrook provided a spark off the bench with 19 points. It came down to the final possessions in both overtime periods with the game tied at the end of regulation and the first OT.
Late in the 4th quarter, Curry used a slick handle to shake free from Davis and drilled the game-tying layup to force the initial overtime period. The Warriors had a shot to win it in the first OT as well but Klay Thompson came through with a clutch three-pointer after James had given the Lakers the lead. It wasn’t until the waning moments of double OT that LA finally seized control for good.
Leading by 2 with 5 seconds left, James attacked the rim and drew a foul, sinking both free throws to put the Lakers up 4. Curry’s last gasp heave from near half court fell short, sealing the Lakers’ gritty win. A pivotal moment occurred late in the 4th when Draymond Green was whistled for a take foul on Davis that was extremely close to being a flagrant.
Davis split the free throws but if Green had been assessed a flagrant foul, the Warriors’ chances of tying likely would have vanished. In the end the controversial call went the Lakers way, epitomizing the slim margin between the two iconic franchises.
While neither the Lakers nor Warriors currently reside in playoff position out West, any time superstars like Curry, Thompson, Green, James and Davis share the hardwood it’s must-see entertainment. Fans were treated to an instant classic last night, the struggling Lakers barely surviving against Golden State’s late game heroics.
The two teams meet 3 more times this season, giving Curry and the Warriors chances to avenge this bitter loss. For now, the Lakers will savor a season-defining victory while the Warriors regroup for the rematches ahead. Despite inconsistent play lately, both teams showed they remain dangerous when their stars align as they did during this thrilling double OT contest.