NBA: LeBron James puts Memphis on the brink of elimination with a Lakers win | Sports

LeBron celebrates with Anthony Davis a basket of his in added time.
LeBron celebrates with Anthony Davis a basket of his in added time.Jae C Hong (AP)

The Lakers have put Memphis on the ropes. A magnificent LeBron James has led his team to a 117-111 victory in overtime that puts the series 3-1 in their favor. The 38-year-old star tied the game in the fourth quarter, leaving 0.8 on the clock as Ja Morant’s team closed strongly. James, who played 45 minutes (only Desmond Bane had more minutes than him), not only extended the game with his basket, but led his team with four of his 22 points in added time, putting Memphis in the second seed in the West, on the brink of elimination. Game 5 will be played on Wednesday, which can put the Lakers on their way to their 18th NBA title.

The Lakers have found in a few poisoned words the fuel they needed in the playoffs. Dillon Brooks, of the Memphis Grizzlies, created with some statements one of the best rivalries of the tie. A few days ago, the guard called LeBron James old, eternal candidate for the title of best player of all time. This Monday, Lakers fans have let him know, for the second night in a row, that they do not forget. A loud boo was heard in the Crypto arena every time Brooks touched the ball. Brooks, in his fifth year in the league and averaging 14 points per game, had a low-key night with eleven points and shooting 5 of 18 shots.

The series has heated up since Saturday, when the Lakers silenced Brooks storming out of the locker room like a gale. The locals closed the first quarter with a 26-point lead over the Grizzlies (they won 111-101). This Monday the start of those in yellow took time and was not so overwhelming. LeBron James scored his first basket with two minutes left in the first quarter and with forward Jarred Vanderbilt becoming the best shooter at the start of the game, with ten points in seven minutes.

As Jimmy Butler demonstrated in Miami’s win over the Bucks, James also proved that he has a different personality when it comes to playoff games. This has been the 270th playoff game for James, who is playing his 20th season. He scored just five points in the first quarter, but warmed up as the clock ticked down. By the end of the game he had achieved another milestone: he grabbed 20 rebounds for the first time, scored 22 points and provided seven assists. He is the first Lakers player to have 20+ points and 20 rebounds in a playoff game since Shaquille O’Neal in 2004.

The same did not happen with the other pillar of the Lakers, Anthony Davis, who had a discreet night with 12 points, eight of these in the last quarter and added time. His performance contrasts with that of Saturday, when he scored 31 points. Davis, who has a hip injury and needed heat when he was on the bench, had four turnovers and four blocks tonight, one of which was to Ja Morant on the final play of regulation. His slap was providential. The ball was picked up by James who tossed the ball from half court and scored it. The 19,000 fans in the stadium — including Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Kim Kardashian, Adam Sandler, rapper Puff Daddy and Flea of ​​the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others — stood up to chant for the feat, but the referees determined that the shot had been taken when the clock had already reached zero.

Without Davis on board at all, the Lakers needed a choral effort in all four quarters. Austin Reaves, just in his second season, pitched in with another huge night. The 24-year-old from Arkansas was the Lakers’ top scorer with 23 points (he scored nine of 21). Reaves has ceased to be a secondary protagonist to become one of the most efficient in the starting lineup for the Lakers, who won their last championship in the Florida bubble. The German Dennis Schroder was the one who contributed the most from the bench, with 12 points.

D’Angelo Russell also had a great finish. The wing hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, allowing the Lakers to close the gap Memphis had taken thanks to a terrific game by Desmond Bane, who finished the night with 36 points. Russell, however, was fouled out because he had the difficult task of guarding Morant, who even with his right hand bandaged from an injury was able to score 19 points (he made 8 of 24 shots inside the box). The Grizzlies’ fortunes changed in overtime, where they missed six of their eight shots.

“I hit bears. I don’t respect anybody if they don’t come in and put 40 in,” was what Brooks said after Memphis took Game 2 at home. The player was also ejected in the third game of the series for hitting LeBron James in the crotch while trying to stop an offense. On Monday, Brooks decided not to speak after the game. His team will have to make arguments on the court if they want to stay alive.

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