The Los Angeles Lakers went ahead 2-1 in their playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday while the Milwaukee Bucks made it 3-0 against the Miami Heat, putting the NBA runners-up on the brink of elimination.
In the first game of the tie at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Lakers beat the Suns 109-95 with 21 points and 9 assists from LeBron James and 34 points and 11 rebounds from Anthony Davis.
The reigning NBA champions thus add two consecutive victories that give them confidence to resolve the series against the Suns, who finished second in the regular phase of the West.
Phoenix, which is playing its first playoffs in a decade, is suffering from the physical problems of its on-court commander Chris Paul.
The veteran point guard, who suffered a concussion to his right shoulder in the first game, spent 27 minutes on the court and had just 7 points and 6 assists.
Guard Devin Booker added 19 points on a poor 6/19 field goal statistic and was sent off alongside Jae Crowder with 35 seconds remaining after a hard foul on Dennis Schröder.
The Lakers, who are recovering the competitive rhythm after qualifying for the playoffs in the repechage, secured the victory with a spectacular third quarter in which Davis marked the difference with 18 points.
“You have to be aggressive,” said the pivot. The defeat in “the first game was my responsibility and I have made an effort to ensure that I return to good performances.” (GG) (AFP)