Davis scores 34 as Lakers beat Suns to level series, Nets thump Celtics
Los Angeles, Wednesday
Anthony Davis and LeBron James delivered down the stretch on Tuesday as the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers bounced back to beat the Phoenix Suns 109-102 and knot their playoff series at one game apiece.
Davis had said he blamed himself after scoring just 13 points in the Lakers’ 99-90 defeat in game one of the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series.
He wasn’t about to let it happen again.
Davis scored 34 points with 10 rebounds, seven assists and three blocked shots. “I wanted to make sure I made a statement in this game, come out with more energy, more effort on both ends of the floor,” he said.
LeBron James added 23 points, pulling down four rebounds and handing out nine assists as the Lakers gained the split of two games in Phoenix.
The star duo scored 16 of the Lakers’ final 18 points and Los Angeles turned back a late charge from a Suns team again largely deprived of veteran point guard Chris Paul who was still clearly feeling the effects of a right shoulder injury suffered in game one and exited early.
James’s basket with 2:55 to play put the Lakers up 95-92 and Davis followed with a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 100-92 as the Suns’ challenge dimmed.
The Lakers got off to a determined start and led 30-24 after the first quarter and 53-47 at halftime.
With a 10-1 run to open the third period launched by James’s three-pointer the Lakers threatened to run away with it.
But Phoenix fought back. Deandre Ayton’s dunk put the Suns up 88-86, though James and Davis made sure the Suns couldn’t hang on to their first lead since the first quarter.
Devin Booker led Phoenix with 31 points and made all 17 of his free throws. Ayton connected on 11 of 13 shots from the field to score 22 points with 10 rebounds.
“That’s playoff basketball,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of the Suns’ late push. “That’s the team with the second-best record in the NBA, so it’s not going to be a situation where it’s easy to knock them out in any game.
“But our guys came out strong and were able to hold on.”
Elsewhere, the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets seized 2-0 series leads.
Star Mavs guard Luka Doncic scored 39 points as Dallas put themselves in a commanding position with their second straight victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles, 127-121.
The Mavericks made 18 three-pointers and connected on 58.5 percent of their shots from the field as they withstood a 41-point performance from Clippers star Kawhi Leonard supplemented by 28 from Paul George. -AFP