Suffice to say, Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers had pretty high stakes. It wasn’t all on the line but ... well, it was close. A Warriors win would give them the momentum, tying the game and returning home court advantage to Golden State. A Lakers win would push the Dubs to the brink, giving LA a 3-1 lead.
Both teams showed up like the game was as important as it was. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but neither team was shy on heart, effort, or desire. And neither team was in short supply of runs, either.
But only one team could win. And that team was, unfortunately, the Lakers.
The initial minutes of the game were poor for the Warriors, with Andrew Wiggins have a pair of fouls and turnovers in the early going. Then all of a sudden the offense clicked, and they rattled off an 8-0 run. Before long, the Lakers had countered with a 10-0 run. Both teams were executing well, but both were missing shots, and the Lakers led 22-21 after the first frame.
The Dubs came out firing in nthe second quarter, but LeBron James immediately responded and led the Lakers to an 8-0 run. Then, like clockwork, Steph Curry took over, and the Warriors mercilessly attacked Anthony Davis on the pick and roll, as they ended the half on a 14-6 run, with a 52-49 lead.
And then came the third, and all the runs. The Warriors started strong, but the Lakers countered with a 10-0 run. Then Curry took over, making no-look pass after no-look pass, with some nifty finishes and excellent defense. That, combined with amazing energy from Gary Payton II, led to an 11-0 run that gave the Dubs a double-digit lead. And just to add to the drama, we were treated to Curry and James — the two defining stars of this era — trading difficult bucket after difficult bucket, with the Lakers countering with a 10-2 run. Still, the Warriors led by seven entering the fourth quarter.
And then came the unpredictable. With two of the greatest players ever in Curry and James on the court, along with perennial MVP candidate Anthony Davis, future Hall of Famers Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, and All-Stars Andrew Wiggins and D’Angelo Russell, the game was taken over by ... Lonnie Walker IV, relegated to garbage time early in the series.
Walker dominated the fourth quarter, with 15 points in the frame, answering everything the Warriors threw. The teams traded leads back and forth.
Down one point and a chance at a two-for-one, Curry took Davis one-on-one but missed a one-footed jumper. Green grabbed the rebound and cleared it to Curry, who missed a very deep three.
LeBron made it a three-point game at the free throw line, then Green threw the ball away. Wiggins forced a jump ball with Davis, and somehow won the tip, but Curry fell to the ground as he caught it and, rather than calling a timeout, tried to save the ball to a teammate, only to throw it out of bounds instead.
Lakers 104, Warriors 101. The Dubs have their back against the wall, needing three straight wins to keep their season alive.
It’s not where you want to be, but we’ve seen them do it before.
Curry finished with a triple-double of 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists, but shot inefficiently and will surely spend the next few days thinking about the missed opportunities down the stretch. Green, Wiggins, and Payton had some big moments, but Thompson and Jordan Poole were invisible all night long.
Game 5 is Wednesday night at the Chase Center at 7:00 p.m. PT. If the Dubs win, then the series is alive once more. If they lose, the season is over.