It was a wild second half at crypto.com arena, but it's the Los Angeles Lakers who are into the playoffs red-hot.
The purple and gold rallied back from down 15 points to win an overtime thriller in the play-in tournament over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 108-102.
Tied at 95, the Lakers had the ball with 21.7 seconds to go and the shot clock off. LeBron James inbounded to Dennis Schroder who gave it back to James. Covered by Taurean Prince, James drove toward the contested bucket and was able to find Schroder for a wide-open corner three, which he banged with 1.4 seconds to go.
Game over, right? Nope. Anthony Davis fouled Mike Conley on a three-pointer with 0.1 seconds left. Conley knocked all three to send the game to overtime.
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Both teams combined to go 8-for-34 from the floor in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers snapped out of that quickly by jumping out to a 5-0 run to begin overtime. The Wolves cut it to a three-point deficit with 19.0 to go, and they were able to intercept an inbound pass out of a timeout. Prince missed a wide-open three, though, and the Lakers grabbed the rebound. This time, they made a clean inbound, and after Schroder was fouled, he hit both free throws to bring Los Angeles back up five with 8.4 seconds left. Anthony Davis added another free throw to finish the game's scoring.
With Karl-Anthony Towns in foul trouble in the fourth, the Lakers were able to take advantage and make it just a three-point game with 8:16 to go after having been down by as many as 15. Towns returned shortly after, and Minnesota got back up seven. However, L.A. slowly crept back, and James drilled a three-pointer with 2:02 to go to tie the game at 95, giving him 30 points on the night.
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The Lakers held their breath on Davis' foul – James jokingly called it a “brain fart” in his postgame interview on the court, but they prevailed and are back in the playoffs after missing last year.
Minnesota was lights out from three-point range for most of the night, knocking 16 of their first 32 from behind the arc. However, they missed their final nine.
The Timberwolves were without some key players – Jaden McDaniels is out with a broken hand after punching a wall on Sunday, and Rudy Gobert was suspended for throwing punches on his own teammate during a timeout.
James added 10 rebounds and six assists to go along with his 30-piece, while Davis put up 24 points on his way to grabbing 15 boards. Schroder dropped 21, going 3-for-4 from long range.
Towns led Minnesota with 24 points, and Conley wasn't far behind with 23, but Anthony Edwards struggled. He put up just nine points on 3-for-17 shooting after 24.6 points per game in the regular season.
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The Lakers are now set to begin a best-of-seven series with the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, who went 51-31 this season led by Ja Morant.