Anthony Davis had 25 points and 13 rebounds, a slow-starting LeBron James finished with 21 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers took a 2-1 lead in their second-round playoff series with a 127-97 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 on Saturday night.
D’Angelo Russell hit five 3-pointers while scoring 21 points for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who remained unbeaten at home in the postseason with a strong defensive effort against the reigning NBA champions.
James didn’t take a shot in the first quarter for the first time in his NBA-record 275 playoff appearances, but he warmed up in time to lead several runs in the second and third quarters while Los Angeles pulled away.
Stephen Curry scored 23 points and Andrew Wiggins had 16 in a collective stinker for the Warriors, who committed 19 turnovers and never mounted a response to the Lakers on either end in the second half. Golden State went 13 for 44 on 3-pointers — making just 10 while the game was still competitive — after hitting 21 in each of the series’ first two games in San Francisco.
Game 4 is Monday night in Los Angeles.
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Davis had an impressive bounce-back game under both baskets after contributing minimally in Game 2, blocking four shots and leading the Lakers’ latest strong defensive effort. Los Angeles has built its 16-5 run since March 17 on defense, and the Warriors couldn’t hit enough shots from the perimeter to counteract their disadvantages in size and athleticism.
Klay Thompson had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Warriors, but the rest of the roster beyond their top three scorers struggled mightily, combining for just 18 points before coach Steve Kerr pulled his starters with 9:11 to play. Draymond Green had two points in 23 minutes while playing with foul trouble.
The Warriors were held under 100 points for only the fifth time in 92 games this season.
The rivals split two games in San Francisco to open the series, with the Warriors earning a 27-point blowout victory in Game 2 after dropping the opener.
But this much-anticipated playoff rematch between generational superstars James and Curry has featured more garbage time than memorable thrills in the past two games. After Lakers coach Darvin Ham sat down his stars before the fourth quarter of Game 2, Kerr pulled the plug while facing a 26-point deficit early in the fourth quarter of Game 3.
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James began Game 3 making a clear effort to be a playmaker, but he didn’t even take his first shot until 8:02 remained in the first half. He hit a free throw for his first point with 6:32 left, and he subsequently led a rally that pushed the Lakers in front to stay.
JaMychal Green stayed in the Warriors’ starting lineup even with Kevon Looney available to play in Game 3. Looney missed Game 2 with an illness.
James’ son, Bronny, announced his decision to play at the University of Southern California about two hours before tipoff. The 18-year-old was among the top uncommitted recruits in the nation, and he chose to stay close to home with a loaded Trojans team coming off its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Bronny James, USC hoops coach Andy Enfield and Trojans football coach Lincoln Riley all attended Game 3.
Warriors: The Los Angeles-born Thompson grew up a Lakers fan in Orange County, and this series is his first chance to play against the 17-time NBA champion franchise in the postseason. His father, Mychal, is the Lakers’ radio color commentator, and his brother, Trayce, plays for the Dodgers. … Andre Iguodala has increased his workload and should return to practice next week, Kerr said. The veteran has been out since March 13 after having surgery on his left wrist. He isn’t likely to play in this series, but could return later in the postseason. … Moses Moody got a flagrant foul in the second quarter for tripping Davis while lying on the ground after Davis blocked his shot.
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Lakers: James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for fifth place on the NBA’s career playoff rebounding list. … Backup center Mo Bamba missed his third straight game with a left ankle injury. … Another celebrity-laden sellout crowd gathered for the Lakers’ longest playoff run in their home arena since 2012. Fans near courtside included Michael B. Jordan, Kim Kardashian, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Dustin Hoffman, Nia Long, Adele, Andy Garcia, Kevin Hart and quarterback Bryce Young, the Pasadena native and No. 1 overall pick by Carolina in last month’s NFL draft.