Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Los Angeles Lakers had the best record in the Western Conference when the 2019-20 season was suspended March 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They tightened their grip on the No. 1 seed with a 103-101 victory in Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Walt Disney World Resort.
It was the first of eight seeding games for the two L.A. teams, and the Lakers have nearly clinched the top spot with a 6.5-game lead following this victory.
Anthony Davis led the way for the victors, picking up the slack when LeBron James struggled from the field even though the King followed his own miss and put in the winning basket with 12.8 seconds remaining. James also played stifling defense on Paul George, forcing a missed three at the buzzer on the ensuing possession.
Notable Player Stats
- LeBron James, F, LAL: 16 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 turnovers and 6-of-19 FGs
- Anthony Davis, F, LAL: 34 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 8-of-19 FGs and 16-of-17 FTs
- Kawhi Leonard, F, LAC: 28 points, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 7-of-16 FGs, 3-of-4 3PTs
- Paul George, F, LAC: 30 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 11-of-17 FGs, 6-of-11 3PTs
- Kyle Kuzma, F, LAL: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4-of-7 3PTs
Anthony Davis Too Much for Clippers’ Frontcourt
The Clippers felt the absence of Montrezl Harrell in Thursday’s contest.
Without Harrell, they were forced to send 35-year-old Joakim Noah and an overmatched duo of Ivica Zubac and Patrick Patterson out to defend Davis, which, predictably, did not go well.
The seven-time All-Star was physical inside and consistently got to the free-throw line throughout the game. Eight of those free throws came in the first quarter alone as he set the tone for what would be a dominant performance.
When there was too much traffic inside and the defense collapsed on LeBron, he took his game to the outside. He also caught fire to end the third quarter with Leonard, James and George on the bench, scoring 10 points in the final three m