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Lakers LeBron James Anthony Davis get tough in Game 3 as Los Angeles

Lakers LeBron James Anthony Davis get tough in Game 3 as Los Angeles

Suns, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis

Lakers LeBron James Anthony Davis get tough in Game 3 as Los Angeles

The Lakers are starting to look like the Lakers | Previewing the … Fri, 28 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700-Behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis' dominance, the Lakers looked like title contenders for the first time in a while, routing the Suns 109-95 in Game 3.

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LeBron James, Anthony Davis get tough in Game 3 as Los Angeles Lakers regain their groove

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LeBron, Lakers' bench feed off each other's energy for dominant win over Suns (1:13)

The Lakers' bench fuels LeBron James with excitement after several commanding plays vs. the Suns. (1:13)

3:47 AM ET

LOS ANGELES — Playing in their first home playoff game in eight years, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like a true championship contender for the first time in a while.

L.A., the No. 7 seed, won 109-95 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in its first-round matchup against the No. 2-seeded Phoenix Suns, with Anthony Davis (34 points, 11 rebounds) and LeBron James (21 points, nine assists) looking like the dynamic duo that led the Lakers to an NBA title last year.

After right leg injuries to Davis and a right ankle injury for James caused the pair to miss a combined 63 games in the regular season, and the Lakers struggled mightily reintegrating their stars — once dropping eight out of 10 games from late April through early May — the team has clearly turned a corner.

The Suns and Lakers tangled horns in the first half of Game 3, with Davis hyperextending his left knee on a chase-down block of Suns star Devin Booker and L.A. taking just a three-point lead into the break. That's when James, who had parked himself on the perimeter for much of the series up to that point, changed his approach.

“I wasn't reading the game like I would like to in the first half,” said James, who scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Lakers outscored the Suns by that same margin. “Came back into the locker room, made some mental adjustments for me individually that I felt like would work for our team, and we were able to spark a run in the third.”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James' effort made all the difference.

“He changed the whole game,” Vogel said after L.A. won for the eighth time in its past nine games. “His mindset just reversed the whole course of tonight's game.”

James, 36, scored on five of his seven drives to the hole on Thursday, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. The stat was significant, not just for the control it gave L.A. over the momentum, but also for the contrast it was to Games 1 and 2, when James had just two drives to the hoop, scoring once.

“Obviously, it's been a rough year on me as far as physically with my ankle and dealing with that and still trying to get it where it was before the injury,” James said. “But every day is a step forward, and I'm going to continue to put the work into with my treatment around the clock, getting it to where it was before the injury.”

Davis followed suit, pushing through a visible limp without asking out of the game.

“It's the playoffs. It's rare that I'm going to come out of a game,” Davis said. “Landed awkwardly, tried not to fall on Book. Guess I might have hyperextended it a little bit.

“Just keeping it warm, keeping it loose and wanted to keep going. It felt fine throughout the rest of the game. Really didn't have any problems with it. … It was all full of adrenaline, so we'll see how I feel tomorrow. Get some treatment and get some treatment Saturday and be ready to go Sunday.”

Vogel said that Davis' tenacity was second only to James' tactical shift.

“We needed it,” he said of Davis. “We needed him to stay in there to get this W. He knew that. He was going to do whatever it took for us to get this W. And to play through pain, to play through, I mean, he's limping up and down the floor a few times. We were talking to the staff and the medical team like, 'Maybe we gotta get him out.' And they're saying he's good to go, it's safe, it's just playing through pain. And just a tough, tough performance by AD.”

It has been a tough turn of events for the Suns, owners of the second-best record in basketball during the regular season. After winning Game 1, they have not only lost two in a row, but saw Thursday devolve into a laugher, falling behind by as many as 22 points. Two of their players — Booker and Jae Crowder — were ejected in the final minute.

Booker was called for a flagrant foul 2 for pushing an airborne Dennis Schroder to the ground with 35.4 seconds remaining.

“My mom raised me right,” said Schroder, who scored 20 points, when asked if he might have gotten under Booker's skin, prompting the foul. “When somebody talks to me first, I'm gonna talk back. It don't matter who it is. If somebody talks to me disrespectfully, I'm going to do the same thing, so at the end of the day, we're going to battle then.

“Nobody's going to disrespect me. The end of the day, I just talked back and somebody took it too sensitive and fouled me.”

Crowder was called for a technical foul and ejected while the officials finished up reviewing the Booker foul on replay.

Crowder, too, had reason to be frustrated, shooting just 2-for-9 from the field (1-for-7 from 3) and losing for the 15th time in 18 career playoff games facing off against James.

The Lakers star toyed with Crowder in the fourth quarter, deliberately yo-yoing the ball through his legs on an isolation possession, bringing the crowd of 7,825 fans to its feet. Later, James posted up the Phoenix forward before slipping past him with a spin move and scoring on a pretty reverse layup to push the Lakers' lead to 91-70 with 7 minutes, 32 seconds remaining.

“For me and for our ballclub, we always try to make plays where we can get each other excited, we can get our fans involved, get our fans excited about it. Because it just brings so much excitement to the game,” James said. “Plays can be momentum swings that can work in our favor. So, that was one of those instances where we had an opportunity to make a momentum play and we were able to deliver.”


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LeBron James, Anthony Davis get tough in Game 3 as Los Angeles … Fri, 28 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700-Today we will be talking about the NBA playoffs (of course), the upcoming UEFA Champions League Final, Tiger Woods' recovery and more. Let's get to it. What …

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The Lakers are starting to look like the Lakers | Previewing the Champions League final

Hello everyone, it's Shanna McCarriston here and I'm back from California and ready to give you all the important sports news of the day.

I had a blast on vacation, which included a trip to LegoLand and the San Diego Zoo — both of which were pretty great. But now it's back to reality — and time to plan another trip.

Today we will be talking about the NBA playoffs (of course), the upcoming UEFA Champions League Final, Tiger Woods' recovery and more. 

Let's get to it.

📰 What you need to know

1. Lakers sink Suns to take series lead 🏀

After having to prove their worth in the Play-In Tournament, the Lakers are starting to look a team nobody should want to face in the playoffs. Last night, they beat the Suns, 109-95, to go up 2-1 in the series.

The defending champions didn't have the most perfect game on Thursday, but a win is a win and Los Angeles got it done. A major player in this one was Anthony Davis, who had 34 points and 11 rebounds. LeBron James started slow, but looked more like himself in the second half.

Here are some key takeaways from the game, courtesy of our NBA scribe Sam Quinn:

  • The Lakers turned back the clock: The game slowed down — as it often does in the playoffs — and became defense heavy. The second quarter had just 28 points total, but this old-school style of play is favorable for the Lakers, who used it to their advantage
  • It's clear Chris Paul isn't 100%: While the team may be saying Paul is a “full go,” it's clear on the court that this is not exactly the whole truth. Paul played 23 minutes and the Suns were outscored by 20 with him in the game
  • Lakers role players aren't making their shots: In Phoenix, Kyle Kuzma was 1 of 6, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was 2 of 13 and Wesley Matthews was 1 of 6. But home court advantage should help that in theory, right? Matthews went 2 of 5 from the field, Kuzma shot 2 of 12 in Game 3 and Caldwell-Pope didn't hit a 3, so not exactly the best from these guys.

The Suns got off to a hot start winning Game 1, but the Lakers have been able to bounce back and now have the chance to really gain control of the series this weekend. Game Three is on Sunday in Los Angeles. 

2. Our soccer experts preview the Champions League Final ⚽

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It's finally here. The Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+ and you know what that means … you are in the right place to get prepared for the big game.

Here are some predictions from the CBS Sports soccer team:

  • Thomas Rongen's pick: Manchester City 3, Chelsea 1
  • Luis Miguel Echegaray's pick: Manchester City 2, Chelsea 1
  • Roger Gonzalez's pick: Manchester City 2, Chelsea 1

Across the board, all eight of our experts selected Manchester City to win. For their full commentary on why they made these predictions, along with takes from the other fabulous experts, click here.

While our predictions may lean towards Manchester City, Chelsea is confident and key players expressed their readiness for Saturday's game:

  • American Christian Pulisic: “There have been some real ups, also some times where I had some really difficult moments. I'm happy with my form now. I'm happy with the way I'm feeling. I'm confident … I'm ready to play, I want to play.”

Lastly, the betting side of the game. William Hill Sportsbook has the odds at:

  • Manchester City -113
  • Draw +235
  • Chelsea +350

3. Tiger Woods breaks his silence for the first time since crash ⛳

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Since his car crash three months ago, there have been few updates on how Tiger Woods is doing. On Thursday, we heard from the golfer directly, as he spoke with Golf Digest about the progress and struggles he's faced so far.

Following the crash that occurred near Los Angeles, Woods had surgery on his right leg. He was very open about how difficult it has been since the incident.

  • Woods: “This has been an entirely different animal. I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced”

There are still a lot of unknowns regarding his future, but the golf legend's main focus right now is just being able to walk on his own. In the latest photo seen of Woods, he is in a walking boot and using crutches to walk.

Woods' golf future is very up in the air, but after hearing from the golfer directly, it seems that he is slowly improving.

4. Predicting how college football coaches will fare in their new roles 🏈

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It seems like a great time for a college football check-in, so let's talk CFB, shall we? Now that the coaching carousel is settled for the 2020-21 cycle, the experts at CBS Sports have taken a look at all the new hires.

Our own Chip Patterson decided to assign some superlatives to new hires, as well as coaches who have changed locations. 

Here are some of his predictions:

  • Most likely to win big early: Tie between Bryan Harsin at Auburn and Gus Malzahn at UCF
  • Most likely to win big later: Steve Sarkisian at Texas
  • Toughest rebuild: Tie between Lance Leipold at Kansas and Jedd Fisch at Arizona
  • Easiest program to maintain: Andy Avalos at Boise State
  • Toughest program to maintain: Maurice Linguist at Buffalo
  • Power five candidate: Blake Anderson at Utah State

Even just thinking about next year has me ready to go for next season. Just a few more months to wait. For Patterson's full list of predictions along with commentary, click here.

📝 Odds & Ends

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📺 What to watch this weekend

Friday

🏀 Knicks vs. Hawks, 7 p.m. | ATL -4 | TV: ESPN

🏒 Wild vs. Golden Knights, 9 p.m. | LV -160 | TV: NBCS

Saturday

⚽ Champions League Final: Manchester City vs. Chelsea, 3 p.m. | MCY -113 | TV: CBS/Paramount+

Sunday

🏀 Suns vs. Lakers, 3:30 p.m. | LAL -6.5 | TV: ABC

🏀 Clippers vs. Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. | TV: TNT

Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅

Some wild base-running from the Cubs' Javier Baez turned into a runner stealing home in a play you just have to see.


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– May 28, 2021
Suns, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis

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