Associated Press4 minutes of reading
Angels — LeBron James had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers secured the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a 108-102 overtime victory over the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA’s play-in game on Tuesday night.
Dennis Schroder scored 21 points and made two free throws with 8.4 seconds left to lead the Lakers, who will face second-seeded Memphis in the first round starting Sunday.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points and Mike Conley hit three free throws with 0.1 seconds left to tie the game for the Wolves, who will host eighth-seeded New Orleans or Oklahoma City in the first round on Friday. Starts Sunday in Denver.
The Pelicans host the Thunder on Wednesday night, with Minnesota needing the winner to reach the playoffs for the third time in 19 seasons.
Anthony Davis had 24 points, 15 rebounds and 23 points on Conley, a huge misadventure. Los Angeles still survived its back-and-forth encounter with Minnesota, which gave a spirited effort through the first three quarters while playing without starters Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels.
Gobert was suspended for punching teammate Kyle Anderson in Minnesota’s regular-season finale against New Orleans, while McDaniels is out indefinitely Sunday with a broken arm after punching a wall in frustration.
Los Angeles finally won it with defense, holding the Wolves to seven points over the final 11 minutes from midway through the fourth quarter, while the Lakers rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half. After leading all night, Minnesota went scoreless for six minutes.
Schroeder hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left in regulation, but the Wolves forced overtime when Conley hit his free throws after Davis stepped up on a 3-point attempt.
Los Angeles took a 12-point lead on a 3-pointer early in overtime by Rui Hachimura. The Wolves missed 11 consecutive shots before Anthony Edwards scored 2:36 into overtime.
Edwards scored just nine points — more than 15 below his average — and left the court in the second half to receive tape on his left shoulder.
D’Angelo Russell had a dream game for Los Angeles in February against Los Angeles, scoring two points on 1-of-9 shooting with eight assists. He was extended in favor of Schroder, who came up big in his return from a two-game injury layoff.
It was the Lakers’ first regular season game in front of a full home crowd since James joined the franchise five seasons ago. Los Angeles spent its 2020 championship run in the Florida bubble, played in front of a half-full house in a first-round loss to Phoenix in 2021, and missed the playoffs entirely in 2018 and 2022.
Since April 2013, the Lakers have not had a full house for regular non-season games, when their arena was the Staples Center.
Minnesota coach Chris Finch said he spent the past two days “sorting through the wreckage” of the Wolves’ eventful season finale, which left his team without its best rim protector and its top point-of-attack defender. James in the clubs latest match.
But Minnesota looked better than the Lakers from the start, jumping out to a big early lead before going on a 14-2 run to close out the second quarter for a 60-49 halftime lead. The Wolves’ lead finally dwindled early in the fourth quarter after Towns left the game with five fouls.