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Lonnie Walker IV sparks Lakers past Warriors for 3-1 series lead

LOS ANGELES — Would this finally be the game when Anthony Davis abandoned his playoff practice of sizzling one game and slumping the next? Would there be a repeat of LeBron James’ heroics in Game 4 of the Lakers’ first-round victory over the Memphis Grizzlies? Would they contain Steph Curry and Klay Thompson?

Yes.

Yes and no.

No and yes.

The Lakers and Golden State Warriors answered those and many other questions during Game 4 of their second-round playoff series on Monday night at Crypto.com Arena. By the end of the game, one thing was certain: Nothing was certain about a series that has featured wild swings of momentum and emotion.

The teams produced a nail-biter, a nerve-jangling thriller for Game 4 after each team won in a runaway in the previous two games. In the end, backup guard Lonnie Walker IV helped the Lakers wrestle a 104-101 victory from the Warriors and take a commanding 3-1 series lead on the defending NBA champions.

Game 5 is Wednesday at Chase Center.

Buckle up.

The winner of the Lakers-Warriors series moves on to face either the Denver Nuggets or Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals. The Nuggets-Suns series is tied at two victories apiece, with each team winning twice on its home floor. Game 5 is Tuesday in Denver.

Walker scored 15 points, including two free throws with 15 seconds remaining to help rally the Lakers from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter to their eighth consecutive home victory since March. Trailing 104-101, the Warriors never got a shot off, losing possession after Curry lost it out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left.

James led the Lakers with 27 points, Davis had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Austin Reaves added 21. Curry had a 31-point triple-double (14 assists, 10 rebounds), but he missed two hurried 3-point attempts before the Warriors fouled Walker with 15 seconds remaining. Walker sank both to give the Lakers a 104-101 lead that held up.

Thompson had nine points on 3-for-11 shooting.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr continued to alter his starting lineup, moving Gary Payton II into the forward spot occupied by JaMychal Green for Games 2 and 3 after Kevon Looney started in Game 1. Lakers coach Darvin Ham stayed with the same starters he’s played throughout the playoffs.

Underscoring the notion that each playoff game is its own entity, there was zero carry over from D’Angelo Russell’s sizzling start to Game 3 in Game 4. Russell scored the Lakers’ first 11 points and 13 of their first 15 en route to 21 points in their victory Saturday over the Warriors.

Russell had four points on 1-for-8 shooting in the first half Monday.

He wasn’t alone in misfiring.

Thompson had only three points on 1-for-5 shooting by halftime, but Golden State still led 52-49. Thompson and Curry had only three points each by the end of the first quarter, when the Warriors made only 3 of 12 from 3-point range and trailed the-less-than scalding Lakers by 22-21.

The Lakers made only 8 of 23 shots in the first quarter.

Davis led the Lakers with 19 points by halftime, getting into the offensive floor right from the opening possessions. He was coming off a game in which he was dominant at both ends of the floor, scoring 25 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, handing out three assists and blocking four shots.

Payton ignited an 11-0 run for the Warriors in the third quarter, turning a 59-57 deficit into a 68-59 lead that they maintained through the end of the period. Golden State answered several Lakers runs late in the third quarter and took a hard-earned 84-77 lead into the fourth.

Davis, James and Curry each scored 21 points through three quarters.

More to come on this story.

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Lonnie Walker IV is celebrated by his @Lakers teammates after his 15-point 4th quarter!

Lakers now lead the series 3-1… they can advance with a Game 5 win on Wednesday, 10pm/et on TNT. pic.twitter.com/0Z81Pj7dOa

— NBA (@NBA) May 9, 2023

LONNIE WALKER IV SHINES IN GAME 4!

15 points in the 4th quarter as the @Lakers secure a 3-1 series lead! pic.twitter.com/izyQzadxG8

— NBA (@NBA) May 9, 2023

Strong outings from LeBron and AD in the @Lakers Game 4 win to secure a 3-1 series lead!

LeBron: 27 PTS, 9 REB, 6 AST
AD: 23 PTS, 15 REB, 3 STL

LAL/GSW Game 5: Wednesday, 10 PM ET on TNT pic.twitter.com/b0GNGlNjFS

— NBA (@NBA) May 9, 2023

Darvin Ham speaks on Lonnie Walker’s professionalism and how his energy helped the #Lakers prevail. pic.twitter.com/JeYYJOBsbr

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) May 9, 2023

Lonnie Walker IV is the first Laker to have 15+ points off the bench in the 4th quarter of a Playoff game since…

Kobe Bryant, who scored 17 points on May 8, 1997 v the Utah Jazz.

Exactly 26 years ago, to the day. pic.twitter.com/OWBRghVoMI

— NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 9, 2023

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