After starting the season as a starter for the Los Angeles Lakers, Lonnie Walker had an injury and could not recover in time for the trade deadline, so the Lakers made significant changes to their roster. They should have included Walker in their rotation.
Walker did not pout or make a complaint about anything. He yelled encouragement from the bench. Putting up even more effort in training. He patiently awaited his moment in the spotlight.
And when the opportunity presented itself, the unheralded veteran player with unwavering self-assurance outshot Stephen Curry in the fourth quarter of a playoff win for his Lakers, which put his team on the verge of making an improbable run to the Western Conference finals.
With a grin, Walker described the experience as “the greatest feeling you could ever imagine.” “Ever since I was a little boy, I have pictured myself doing something like this.”
On Monday night, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors on Game 4 to establish a commanding 3-1 lead in the second-round series. Walker scored all 15 points in a remarkable fourth quarter, and the Lakers fought late to secure the victory.
With their eighth consecutive victory at home since March, the seventh-seeded Lakers drew closer to dethroning the champions with a score of 27 points from LeBron James and 23 points and 15 rebounds from Anthony Davis. The Lakers have won eight consecutive games at home since March.
Walker, who has made a monumental effect since returning to the Lakers’ rotation in this series, was a significant part of why Los Angeles overcame Stephen Curry’s third career postseason triple-double in the game’s closing minutes. He shot 6 for nine from the field in the fourth quarter, starting with a 3-pointer on Golden State’s first possession to cut their advantage to four points. He finished the quarter with a shooting percentage of 6 for 9.
After not participating in the series’ first game, Walker scored nine points in Game 2 and added 12 more in Game 3. It surprises most people but not Walker or his teammates, who have been anticipating his appearance in this series.
Walker stated, “I have the mentality of a scorer first.” “I have a great deal of faith and reliance in myself. I am well aware of my capabilities, and today marks the moment when all my hard work and dedication finally paid off. I spent a lot of time in the gym and made a lot of sacrifices.
Ultimately, Walker made the game-winning jump shot with 1 minute 53 seconds remaining. After missing a long jumper and a 3-point attempt on Golden State’s following possession, Curry hit a layup with 1:05 remaining to cut the Lakers‘ lead to one point. However, Walker converted two free throws with 15 seconds left, and Los Angeles grabbed one more defensive stop to seal the victory.
James asserted, “There is no way in the world that we will win this game tonight without Lonnie Walker.” “As difficult as this game was, the next one will be even more difficult. That is fine for us. We are aware of that.
Wednesday night in San Francisco will be the start of Game 5.
For the sixth-seeded Warriors, Curry recorded his 13th career triple-double, which included 31 points, ten rebounds, and 14 assists. For the Warriors to continue their NBA title defense, they must overcome a series deficit of 3-1 for only the second time in the organization’s history. In the 2016 Western Conference finals, Golden State was similarly successful in doing so.
It looks like what it is: a disadvantage of three to one. According to the head coach Steve Kerr, “You go home, take care of business, get a win, and the momentum is right back in your favor.” “That is all there is to it… The Lakers did an excellent job of maintaining their serve here, so now we need to get a win at home to change the momentum.
Late in the third quarter, the Warriors held a 12-point lead over the Lakers. Still, the Lakers were able to catch up to the defending champions and defeat them, with Walker leading the way in front of even James and Davis, who congratulated Walker as the buzzer went off.
The coach of the Lakers, Darvin Ham, referred to the player as “a beautiful kid.” It was not his fault that he was removed from the rotation, but he professionally handled the situation. He did not lose his upbeat attitude or positive outlook, and he continued to improve his performance daily, especially throughout these postseason games. When your state of mind is stable, your physical being will follow suit.
Klay Thompson had his second consecutive quiet game in Los Angeles, scoring nine points in 41 minutes despite playing the entire game. Gary Payton II scored a season-high 15 points in his first start of the season for Golden State, which was also his first start of the season. Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points for the Warriors, who only hit 25 3-pointers across their two games in Los Angeles after making 21 in each of their first two games in San Francisco. Wiggins led the Warriors in scoring.
Payton stated that the team maintains an optimistic outlook. “We are confident that we will get them in the end. We need to make one more run past midnight; all you have to do is make that room and opportunity for us.
Davis, who blocked 11 shots in the first three games, could not protect the rim with the same ferocity when his defensive matchups required him to go out to the perimeter, and the Warriors capitalized with 52 points in the paint as a result. Kerr switched to a three-guard starting lineup to affect the Los Angeles defense that held the Warriors to 97 points in Game 3, and the changes largely worked.
The Lakers could compensate for their earlier miscue by converting all 20 free throws, and Austin Reaves contributed 21 points.
But they prevailed because of Walker’s tenacious and well-timed performance. Walker picked up the slack for the Lakers after D’Angelo Russell’s poor shooting performance in Game 4, in which he scored just four points on one-for-10 shooting.
Despite missing nine of his ten 3-point shots over the course of the first three-quarters of the game, Curry was able to clinch the 13th triple-double of his career early in the fourth quarter. The NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point field goal percentage finished with a 3-for-14 mark from long range.
Payton’s only other start in the NBA this season came on February 8 for Portland against the Warriors. Before signing a three-year deal with the Trail Blazers in the summer, he got the starting nod in two playoff games for Golden State the year before. The Trail Blazers then traded him back to the Warriors in February. In the series’ first game versus Los Angeles, Kevon Looney got the start, while JaMychal Green got the nod in Games 2 and 3.
After blocking 19 shots in the previous three games of the series, the only shot that the Lakers could stop in Game 4 was a layup attempt by Curry, which LeBron James blocked in the fourth quarter… Jack Nicholson attended their most recent three home games and was spotted sitting courtside for the second time. The 86-year-old Lakers superfan was the highlight of another celebrity-studded gathering, including Chris Pratt, Dave Chappelle, Dustin Hoffman, Kim Kardashian, Colin Jost, and Flea. Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations for the Dodgers, was also in attendance.