SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors’ double-digit comeback in the fourth came up short as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the defending champs 117-112 to take Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Lakers were up by 14 points, their largest lead of the game, near the midway point of the fourth. But the Warriors rallied back, with Jordan Poole and Stephen Curry hitting back-to-back shots from deep to tie the game at 112 with less than two minutes remaining.
But Golden State never jumped the Lakers.
With Los Angeles up by three, Curry rebounded a missed 3-pointer by LeBron James and moved the ball up the floor. But the Lakers countered by doubling Curry, who couldn’t break free. He passed it off to a wide-open Jordan Poole, who’s 27-foot jumper was off the mark.
The Lakers corralled the rebound and effectively ended the game with two D’Angelo Russell free throws with 2.7 seconds left.
Anthony Davis, who is the Warriors’ biggest — literally — challenge of this series, bullied Golden State, finishing the night with 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
Kevon Looney was just as aggressive on the glass as he’s been all postseason, pulling down 23 rebounds, the most by a Warriors player in the playoffs since Larry Smith had 23 on May 12, 1987 against the Lakers. He also had 10 points and five assists.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry had 27 points, Klay Thompson added 25 and Jordan Poole scored 21 off the bench, and all three made six 3-pointers — the first time in NBA history that three teammates each hit six 3-pointers in a playoff game. But the Lakers clogged the paint, forcing the Warriors outside. The shots didn’t fall, with Golden State shooting 21-for-53 from deep.
The Warriors’ fouling issues from the regular season came back to bite them Tuesday night.
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The story for these team’s free-throw discrepancies this season couldn’t be any more different. The Warriors averaged the least free throw attempts per game (20.2), while send their opponents to the line an average of 25.2 times. The Lakers got to the charity stripe more than any other team (26.6) and allowed the fewest free throws per game (20.8) in the NBA.
That disparity couldn’t have been more glaring in Tuesday’s game.
The Lakers attempted nearly five times more free throws than the Warriors, going a whopping 25-for-29 from the foul line compared to Golden State, who went 5-for-6.
The Western Conference semifinals matchup between the Warriors and Lakers will resume Thursday for Game 2.