LOS ANGELES – LeBron James persevered through an injured ankle, a big first-half deficit and being poked in the eye late in the fourth quarter to add another highlight to his impressive resume.
James made a long, go-ahead 3-pointer with 58.2 seconds remaining, rallying the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors in a Western Conference play-in tournament game Wednesday night.
“After the finger to the eye, I was seeing three rims and shot at the middle one. By grace, I was able to knock it down,” said James, who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season. “I've been poked in the eye before.
"It is going to be sore tonight and tomorrow, but we got a big-time win.”
James was poked by Draymond Green while driving to the basket with 2:07 remaining. But he made the biggest shot when the defending NBA champions needed it the most. His 34-foot, 3-pointer over Stephen Curry as the shot clock was winding down is his longest make of the season. According to ESPN Stats and Information, it is also the longest go-ahead shot in the final 3 minutes of any game in his career.
“He proved why he is the best player in the world. Just add it to the list of great plays and accomplishments,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
Anthony Davis scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, as the Lakers won their sixth straight and overcame 37 points from league scoring champ Curry.
Golden State had a chance to send it into overtime, but Kent Bazemore had a bad inbounds pass and sealed the victory for the Lakers — who earned the seventh seed for the playoffs and a first-round matchup with second-seeded Phoenix. The series opener is slated for Sunday afternoon.