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NBA: LA Lakers clinch top seed in Western Conference

NBA: LA Lakers clinch top seed in Western Conference
Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis with the ball during their NBA match against Utah Jazz on Monday night.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Aug 4 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 8/4/2020 8:56:51 AM IST

Anthony Davis had 42 points and 12 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs by beating the Utah Jazz 116-108 on Monday night.

The Lakers (51-15) own a six-game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Clippers and have five seeding games let before starting their first playoff run since 2013. Utah (42-25) has clinched a playoff berth and is fifth in the West, a half-game behind Houston and a half-game ahead of Oklahoma City.

Davis’ final basket resulted in a 4-point play with 42 seconds left, as he sank a 3-pointer while getting fouled by Rudy Gobert and made the ensuing free throw to give the Lakers a 114-104 lead.

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell answered with a 4-point play of his own that cut the margin to 114-106 with 36 seconds remaining, but the Jazz couldn’t get any closer. Davis made two free throws with 5.2 seconds left to wrap up the scoring.

LeBron James scored 22 points, Dwight Howard had 11 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 10 for the Lakers.

Mitchell scored 33 and Mike Conley had 24 for Utah. Gobert added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz.

The Lakers were coming off a 107-92 loss to Toronto in which Davis shot just 2 of 7 and scored 14 points. Davis was much more active Monday right from the start, as he scored 13 points and shot 6 of 14 in the first quarter alone.

Davis had 24 points by halftime, marking the 20th time this season he’s scored at least 20 points in a half.

Utah stayed close and only trailed 58-56 at halftime because it got its own stellar start from Mitchell, who scored 21 points in the first two periods.

Mitchell then connected on a 3-pointer to cap an 8-0 run by Utah to open the second half.

But the Jazz got increasingly careless with the basketball as the third quarter progressed, enabling the Lakers to seize control of the game. The Lakers scored 14 straight points and went on a 19-2 run late in the third quarter.

Even after Utah’s Emmanuel Mudiay snapped that run by hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Jazz still trailed 86-76 heading into the final period.

The Lakers stayed in front the rest of the way.

Toronto RAPTORS 107-103 Miami HEAT: Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 36 points and made seven 3-pointers, and defending NBA champion Toronto added to its strong restart with a victory over Miami.

VanVleet finished 7 of 12 from beyond the 3-point arc and was a perfect 13 of 13 from the foul line, besting his 34-point total against the Pelicans last December.

Pascal Siakam added 22 points and Kyle Lowry had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Raptors, who are 2-0 since play resumed last week. Toronto resumed its season by beating the Lakers and remains in second place in the Eastern Conference.

Goran Dragic had 25 points for the Heat.

New Orleans PELICANS 109-99 Memphis GRIZZLIES: Brandon Ingram scored 24 points and New Orleans got a much-needed victory over Memphis.

Williamson had 23 points, seven rebounds and tied a career high with five assists in his most extensive playing time since returning to the NBA bubble.

After being limited to a combined 29 minutes in his first two games since the restart, Williamson played 25 minutes, although he appeared to get fatigued when he didn’t hustle back on defense and was taken out with 6 minutes to play. But he returned a short time later and helped the Pelicans close on a 12-6 run.

Jaren Jackson Jr. had 22 points for the Grizzlies, who fell to 0-3 since the NBA restart. Ja Morant struggled from the field, finishing with 11 points on 5-of-21 shooting.

 

-Tags:#NBA

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