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LeBron James’ Lakers to face Stephen Curry’s Warriors in the ‘play in’

LeBron James’ Lakers to face Stephen Curry’s Warriors in the ‘play in’

The Los Angeles Lakers, reigning NBA champions, defeated the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday but did not qualify directly for the playoffs and will have to face Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors in a thrilling ‘play in’ (repechage ).

LeBron James, who suffered from his ankle injury, led the Lakers to a victory over the Pelicans (110-98) but it was not enough to snatch sixth place in the Western Conference from the Portland Trail Blazers, who retained it by winning at the Denver Nuggets.

‘King James’, who is chasing the fifth ring of his career and the second with the Lakers, will star on Wednesday in a high-voltage duel against Stephen Curry, who is in one of the best moments of his career and on Sunday he was proclaimed top scorer it’s from the season.

The winner of the Lakers-Warriors clash will advance to the playoffs and play the first round against the Phoenix Suns.

The loser will still have a second chance to qualify if he can beat the winner of the other West play-in crossover between the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

The winner of that last game will face the Utah Jazz in the first round, which on Sunday secured their lead in the West by beating the Sacramento Kings 121-99.

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The Lakers wanted to avoid at all costs the risks of playing the ‘play in’, a format that LeBron himself harshly criticized, and for this they made James and Anthony Davis play on Saturday and Sunday, both fresh from injuries.

James, who scored 25 points, even had to be substituted six minutes from time after, after a bad fall in a basket tackle, he apparently suffered from the injury to his right ankle that has had him out in 22 of the last 26 games.

Despite the Lakers’ best efforts, the Blazers gave up no chance to surprise and beat the Nuggets 132-116.

Led by Damian Lillard (22 points and 10 assists), Portland started the game with an 11-0 run and no longer let Denver get close to him for the rest of the night despite the Nuggets aligning their star, Serbian Nikola Jokic (21 points).

The Blazers thus remained with the sixth place, the last of direct access to the playoffs, and will play again against the Jokic Nuggets and the Argentine Facundo Campazzo (2 points on Sunday) in the first round of playoffs.

The Clippers, with their loss to the Thunder (117-112) on Sunday, stayed in fourth place and will play against the Dallas Mavericks of the Slovenian phenomenon Luka Doncic, who will seek revenge for their elimination last year.

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– Curry, display and scorer title –

The last day of the regular season, in which all 30 teams played, also saw Stephen Curry conquer his second NBA leading scorer title thanks to a last display of 46 points and 9 triples in the 113-101 win against the Grizzlies.

The point guard surpassed the competition of Bradley Beal (Wizards) when finishing the season with an average of 32.0 points per game, in addition to 5.3 triples (best mark in the league), 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

“He is like the Picasso of our time,” his Mexican-American colleague Juan Toscano-Anderson described to him. «You cannot criticize him. He’s the best right now.

– Giannis’ Bucks vs. Butler’s Heat –

In the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 123-109 with 23 points and 13 assists from Kevin Durant and 17 points from Kyrie Irving.

The Nets thus secured the second place in the conference and will meet in the first round of the playoffs against one of the teams that comes out of the ‘play in’.

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Instead, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks (3rd in the East) will have to face the fierce Miami Heat (6th) of Jimmy Butler, finalists from last season.

The Philadelphia 76ers, leaders of the East, will collide with the other team that emerged from the ‘play in’ and the New York Knicks, who finished fourth, against the Atlanta Hawks, fifth.

In the ‘play in’ of the East, the Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 115-110 and took eighth place, which will play the first series against the Boston Celtics (7th).

The Indiana Pacers (9th) will play the other cross against the Hornets (10th), both games to be held next Tuesday. (GG) (AFP)

Results of Sunday’s day in the NBA:

New York Knicks 96-92 Boston Celtics

Toronto Raptors 113-125 Indiana Pacers

Washington Wizards 115-110 – Charlotte Hornets

San Antonio Spurs – Phoenix Suns 121-123

Golden State Warriors 113-101 Memphis Grizzlies

Atlanta Hawks 124-95 Houston Rockets

Brooklyn Nets 123-109 Cleveland Cavaliers

Philadelphia 76ers – Orlando Magic 128-117

Detroit Pistons – Miami Heat 107-120

Chicago Bulls 118-112 Milwaukee Bucks

Minnesota Timberwolves 136-121 Dallas Mavericks

New Orleans Pelicans – LA Lakers 98-110

Oklahoma City Thunder – LA Clippers 117-112

Portland Trail Blazers 132-116 Denver Nuggets

Sacramento Kings – Utah Jazz 99-121.

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