The Raptors, who finished the game with a 40:51 advantage on the rebound, made a double save on Davis and LeBron, and managed to neutralize the two Lakers stars. Every time Davis got a ball in color, Ivka or Gasol attacked him, and immediately a friend or two joined the guard. For the Lakers, the problem was with the assist team: LeBron and Davis found the teammates, but the Lakers finished the evening with only 10 of 40 of the three. The Lakers also finished the game with 35.4 percent from the field, their lowest this season.
LeBron knew how to compliment a rival from Toronto, the champion if anyone forgot. “It’s a great team,” James said, “without a mother, and without a mourning. A well-trained team, with a champion’s DNA. You can’t take that from the club, if he takes a championship. “The media may not talk about it and give them credit because Koi (Leonard) has left, but the players in the league definitely know what kind of team this is.”
LeBron is not worried about the low percentage or the double save that stopped him and Davis. “I don’t think there is anything we could have done better. You execute the plan on offense, and that’s what we did tonight. We threw 10 of 40 of the three. I think most of the shots were good. We just have to put them in.”
Laurie, on the other hand, explained the magic of Toronto. “We have too many competitive players here on the team who want to come up and play and win, especially against an opponent like the Lakers, the top ranked team in the West. At moments like this our competitive juice starts to come out.”
* The star of the night is undoubtedly TJ Warren: The Indiana guard recorded a career-high 53 points during the Pacers’ crucial 121-112 victory over Philadelphia, finishing an effective and deadly shooting evening with 20 of 29 from the field and 9 of -12 of the three. The standout statistic: In the 40 minutes he played he went to the penalty line only twice (4 of 4). In doing so, Warren has become only the third man since 2010 to score 50 points or more when he goes less than 5 times to the penalty line. And he’s in good company: the only two who have done it besides him are pretty senior shots – Stephen Kerry and Clay Thompson, Golden State players.
Thompson, it will be recalled, scored 52 points two years ago, including a league record of 14 threes, doing so in just 27 minutes, with three balls the entire game and 2 of 2 from the line. Steph sniped 51 against the Wizards in 2016 when he went to the line only 3 times (2 of 3), and a month later sniped 51 against Orlando when he went to the line only once.
“I just wanted to be aggressive, to do what I do best,” Warren said at the end, while Tobias Harris of the Sixers explained: “We should give him credit, he was hot, but too many times we kept him as if he wasn’t that hot. We gave him more. “Too much space, and we didn’t give him enough credit for his shooting ability. And he punished us for it from the first moment.”