By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
The Lakers answered many critics when they faced a Phoenix in gIt was the first trip to the post season in 11 years for Phoenix. It was game two of the first round. In front of a crowd of 11,824 inside the Phoenix Suns Arena.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 57 points to take down the Suns 109-102 in a must win game for Los Angeles.
The Lakers kept the pressure on trying different variables after a 99-90 loss in game one. Davis had 34 points, 7 assists, and 10 rebounds to help even the series 1-1.
“I was locked in, I put the first game on myself,” said Davis. “I want to give my all every night. We stole home court back now we have to go takes care of business.”
Davis used his advantage over a shorter Phoenix team connecting on 18 of 21 foul shots.
James went for 23 points 9 assists and 4 rebounds. It was the first game James and Davis had at least 7 assists each. Andre Drummond had 12 point and 14 boards for his line.
Dennis Schroder had 24 and 3 assists in 34 minutes of play.
James had never lost a first-round play-off series. His teams have lost the series opener 20 times and 12 times he’s bounced back to win the series. Five times his teams have responded to losing the series opener by winning four straight games.
In the Series opener the visitors had picked up right where they began in the playoffs in the bubble with a loss. That’s how the first two series began last season on the way to the 17 NBA title.
In the play-in game against the Warriors during the fourth period with less than a minute to play LeBron James passed the ball to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who could go nowhere against a smothering Golden State defense. Caldwell-Pope threw the ball back to LeBron out front who launched a desperation thirty-footer fading away from a charging Steph Curry. As the 24 second buzzer went off the ball whizzed through the net giving the Lakers a 103-100 lead.
With 2.1 seconds left he defense then foiled an inbound pass to Curry and the Buzzer sounded give the home team the seventh spot and a date with the Phoenix Suns in the desert.
A few moments before the shot James was poked in the eye by Draymond Green as he drove to the basket. He then spent a few moments on the bench getting his eyes treated by trainer Nina Hsieh.
“I was seeing three baskets and I just shot for the middle one,” said James. There was no way in the world I was coming out of that game.”
It became another instant classic moment Lakers playoff history.