Knicks Melt in Miami Again, Lakers Win Thanks to Surprising Hero

Monday in the 2023 NBA Playoffs saw the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers improve to a 3-1 lead over the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors. It was a night of improbable fourth-quarter heroics for the home teams, and teams leading a series 3-1 are 264-13 (.953) all time in NBA playoff history.

Miami Wins Rebounding Battle and the Game

After what looked like a potential shootout with a 31-30 first quarter, these teams settled down and found the offensive struggles from earlier in the series. The Knicks were fine in shooting 48.7% from the field, but the 3-point shot failed them for the third time in four games in this series, finishing 9-for-28 (32.1%). Jalen Brunson scored 32 points but was only 2-of-7 from deep.

But rebounding was supposed to be a decisive edge in this series for the Knicks, and they lost that battle 44-35. Worse, the Heat won offensive rebounds 7-1 in the fourth quarter, allowing them to close out a tight game again to take a 3-1 lead. Jimmy Butler was solid with 27 points and 10 assists, but Bam Adebayo finally stepped up for one of his best playoff games with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

A couple late offensive rebounds helped the Heat get baskets on extra opportunities to put the Knicks away.

Lonnie Walker Scores 15 in Fourth Quarter in 104-101 Nail-Biter

LeBron James
Photo : PA Images / Icon Sport

In talking about the Lakers’ turnaround this season, you start with the health of superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The duo combined for 50 points and 24 rebounds in Game 4, though Davis scored just 4 points after halftime.

You can also talk about the improvement of Austin Reaves, who was aggressive with 21 points, and the additions of Jarred Vanderbilt, D’Angelo Russell, and Rui Hachimura. But an afterthought in LA was Lonnie Walker IV, who is arguably the No. 8 player on this roster.

Since returning from injury in late January, Walker has been relegated to the bench and was averaging 14.3 minutes. But after Game 4, he has one heck of a career highlight to point to. Walker played the entire fourth quarter and scored all 15 of his points in it to help the Lakers survive a thriller that could have gotten away from them multiple times.

Steph Curry had the third triple-double of his playoff career (31 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists), but Klay Thompson (9 points) and Jordan Poole (0 points) were invisible, and Draymond Green had some ugly turnovers. Down 104-101, Green threw the ball away to bring up a jump ball. This was after Curry missed two go-ahead shots in the final 30 seconds thanks to fine defense from Davis.

Curry had a chance to control the jump ball, but he ended up throwing the ball out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left. The Lakers ran out the clock, completing the 12-point comeback win to take a commanding 3-1 lead.

But no one could have imagined it would be Lonnie Walker IV going toe to toe with Curry in the fourth quarter to push this game in LA’s favor.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!