Los Angeles-- Game 3 traveled down the Pacific coast, and it sounded like a bunch of Warriors fans came too. After the deafening Laker roars from the crowd during the Round 1 home games against Memphis, it was interesting tonight to hear some sounds of life from the other side. But the road warriors didn’t propel their team to victory with their chants... not even close.
The Lakers' 127-97 victory gives them a 2-1 edge in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
It's funny because Game 1 made this series seem like it was going to be a hard-fought battle that’d be neck and neck every match, but the Lakers got blown out by Golden State Thursday and tonight they returned the favor.
Is it because each team’s game plan is drastically different?
Simply put, it looks like the Lakers have approached this series with a heavy focus on their defense and coverages, the Warriors look to be prioritizing their high-octane offense.
In the Lakers' 27-point loss two days ago, Steph Curry and his 12 assists danced away with Los Angeles' strategy. He along with his teammates’ 21-made triples slammed the Lakers playbook shut.
Tonight, Los Angeles came in intent on stunning Steph. They held the playmaker to three assists and Golden State made only 13 three-pointers.
Golden State's Head Coach, Steve Kerr, talked before the game about the importance of being “the aggressor.” So, one of the questions going into Game 3 was, who’s going to strike first?
When LeBron didn’t score the entire first quarter, everyone was concerned... well everyone except LeBron.
“I let the game come to me,” LBJ said after the game. And yeah, even though the King was scoreless, he recognized the value in giving Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell space to do their thing offensively, and he focused on grabbing boards.
And after Bron’s sixth rebound, he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and moved to fifth on the NBA’s All-Time Postseason Rebounds List— The Scoring King breaks league records without even scoring.
When the Lakers got a generous lead in the third quarter, LeBron got to take it easy for the final frame after his 32 minutes yielded 21 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and a block.
That was not before he hurdle jumped over the courtside seats on the baseline, and ran into section 108 of the Lakers arena, after swatting away a pass intended for Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins. The crowd came to their feet, enamored by the sheer hustle from James. It was like a scene out of a seventies rock concert when the band breaks through the crowd of shrieking fans who are gasping for air and extending their arms out to reach at the greatness.
“Bron’s a guy,” D’Lo said postgame, “that can dominate the game from so many different aspects—passing, defense, communication. Those are things you don’t see on the stat sheet. He still led us in that way.”
And so, even without a shot taken for about 15 minutes, Bron was the aggressor.
Who will it be in Game 4? We’ll find out on Monday.