Walker leads Lakers to brink of West Finals
Lonnie Walker's big fourth quarter has the Lakers one win away from the conference finals after a 104-101 win over the Warriors.
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1. Walker leads Lakers to brink of West Finals
Lonnie Walker's big fourth quarter has the Lakers one win away from the conference finals after a 104-101 win over the Warriors and The Sporting Tribune’s Mark Medina has more from Walker’s incredible journey from logging zero minutes in Game 1 to being the hero in Game 4.
Once the horn sounded and the confetti dropped, Lakers star LeBron James and Anthony Davis huddled together.
Not only did they show elation over the Lakers prevailing with a 104-101 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series on Tuesday at Crypto.com Arena. They showed joy with Lakers guard Lonnie Walker IV, who scored all of his playoff career-high 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“The game ball definitely goes to him,” James said afterwards. “We don’t win without him.”
Those words might require a double take. After all, James posted 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Davis added 23 points, 15 rebounds and three steals while defending at all five spots. And the Lakers collectively forced a championship-tested Warriors team to commit 22 fouls and 16 turnovers.
But James’ was not speaking hyperbole at all to explain why the Lakers hold a 3-1 series lead over Golden State with a chance to close out in Game 5 on Wednesday in San Francisco. Not only did Walker score all 15 of his points in the final period. Walker made timely plays, including a 3 to open the fourth, a go-ahead jumper with 1:53 left and a pair of foul shots with 15 seconds left to ensure the win. And Walker added three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 27 minutes off the bench.
2. Lakers-Celtics now NBA Finals favorites
The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are now favored to meet for a record 13th time in the NBA Finals this year, according to several Las Vegas sportsbooks, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are now favored to square off in the NBA Finals, according to several sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
The Celtics are currently the consensus favorites at 5/4 to win the NBA championship, followed by the Lakers at 4/1, the Denver Nuggets at 17/4, Golden State Warriors at 9/1, Phoenix Suns at 12/1, Philadelphia 76ers at 20/1, Miami Heat at 20/1 and New York Knicks at 60/1. Jeff Sherman, the vice president of risk management at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, tweeted the updated odds and explained “title odds at this point account for liabilities accrued over the season.”
3. Lakers one win from conference finals after victory
The Lakers' 104-101 win over the Golden State Warriors on Monday and has them on the brink of returning to the conference finals and The Sporting Tribune’s Rey Moralde has more on the Lakers’ amazing turnaround this season after a 2-10 start.
I have mentioned this before but Lonnie Walker IV is a professional basketball player.
He didn't play much in the first round. But Lonnie made a pretty big contribution in Game 3. And he saved the Lakers in Game 4 as they came away with a huge win, 104-101. The Lakers now have a 3-1 series lead against the defending champions.
The Warriors made a wrinkle themselves to start the game as they inserted Gary Payton II in the line-up.
Lakers decided to get Anthony Davis involved early. It seemed like they made a conscious effort to get him the rock.
4. Knights win Game 3, but lose Brossoit
The Golden Knights flipped the script on the Oilers by taking Game 3 in Edmonton while also stealing back home-ice advantage in the conference semifinal series, writes The Sporting Tribune’s W.G. Ramirez.
Less than three minutes into Game 3, it looked like the Vegas Golden Knights were in store for another long night in the Western Conference semifinals against the Edmonton Oilers.
Derek Ryan raced down the right side of the rink and centered a pass to Warren Foegle, who was in the right place to tap the puck past Vegas netminder Laurent Brossoit.
The Oilers were moving the puck, challenging Vegas' defensemen, and creating turnovers - and that was only 2:45 into the game.
They clearly carried the momentum from Game 2, when they dominated the Golden Knights inside T-Mobile Arena on Saturday in a 5-1 win.
Then Vegas answered.
5. The Ducks are picking second overall. What happens next?
The Anaheim Ducks had the best odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and a chance to select Connor Bedard but ended up with the second pick. What happens now? The Sporting Tribune’s Derek Lee has you covered.
The NHL Draft Lottery was held today in Secaucus, NJ. The Ducks had the best odds to win the draft lottery after finishing 32nd overall in the standings thanks to a 13-game losing streak that closed out the season.
The team with the best odds to win had won the draft lottery the previous two years, with Montreal selecting Juraj Slafkovsky last year and Buffalo selecting Owen Power in 2021. However, fate would not fall in the Ducks’ favor as they dropped to second overall, with the Chicago Blackhawks winning the draft lottery.
Anaheim will be picking second overall for the third time in franchise history after selecting Bobby Ryan in 2005 and Oleg Tverdovsky in 1994.
6. Grading Chargers 2023 Draft Class
The Chargers drafted much better than what analysts believe. How much better? The Sporting Tribune’s Fernando Ramirez has you covered starting with their first-round pick, TCU wide receiver Dustin Johnston.
The staff felt it was time to start thinking about the future of the receiving group. Johnston is about 6'3 but has the speed the offense is looking for to burn the opposing defense. He called himself unique because there isn't a receiver in the league like him.
He is hungry to learn, so he wants Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to teach him how to grow professionally. Many young receivers in the past have raved about Allen's willingness to help them grow with his advice.
Johnston should make an impact when his number is called upon. He does bring a unique set of receiving skills. He only needs to work on his catching because he tends to body catch, which is why he drops passes, but it is fixable.
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets in the area if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
6:30 p.m. – Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels – $30
9. On the Air presented by The D Las Vegas
Here are the game times and television channels for professional teams in the region today:
4:30 p.m. – Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers – SportsNet LA
6:30 p.m. – Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels – Bally Sports West
7:30 p.m. – LAFC at Monterrey Bay FC – YouTube
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi is joined by Brandon Deutsch, Armani Buckets, Jake Dicker and Ji Hae Wiley to discuss the Lakers looking like legitimate championship contenders against the Golden State Warriors, which team would the Lakers rather face if they advance to the Western Conference Finals and if the Dodgers are still the team to beat in the NL West.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Bet in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!