Orlando (United States) (AFP)
Lakers struck by lightning: The leaders of the Western Conference were severely beaten Wednesday night (86-105) by the Oklahoma City Thunder, while Toronto and Boston won, preventing Orlando and Brooklyn respectively from s' secure a ticket to the finals in the East.
Assured to be the No. 1 seed in the West, the Lakers were dominated from start to finish, never managing to lead, for the first time this season, against the Thunder who showed that he will still have to reckon with him.
Oklahoma is back in the race for fourth place in the Western Conference, on the heels of Utah Jazz.
Chris Paul put on the show by scoring 21 points while Italy striker Danilo Gallinari added 19.
On the Lakers side, who tested different combinations by bringing in several new players, LeBron James scored 19 points and took 11 rebounds in 30 minutes spent on the floor. Anthony Davis totaled nine points, eight rebounds and five assists.
“There are things that we have to keep working on, James admitted. We have guys who are new to the system. We just try to get everyone in, when the opportunity arises, while also recovering. in legs, "after four and a half months of total cessation of competition, explained the star of Los Angeles.
In the East, the Orlando Magic and the Brooklyn Nets could each have secured a place in the Conference final by winning ... but they both fell to two serious contenders for the title: the Raptors, champion of the year. last and current 2nd, and the Celtics, who are just behind in the standings.
Toronto won against the Magic 109 to 99, carried by Fred VanVleet (21 points), who had already shown against the Miami Heat on Monday.
Orlando remains in eighth position, just behind Brooklyn, which suffered the domination of Boston (149-115).
- Wizards and Grizzlies in turmoil -
The Celtics were able to count on Jaylen Brown (21 pts) and Jason Tatum (19 pts). In total, Boston had seven players with double-digit stats, which got them to set their season point record, despite the absence of Kemba Walker, who was left to rest.
Philadelphia won 107-98 against Washington, thanks to a Joel Embiid in great shape (30 points), thus approaching 5th place in the Eastern Conference standings.
But the 76ers lost in passing their Australian star Ben Simmons, injured in a knee during the third quarter.
The Wizards, who have not had any wins since the resumption in the Orlando bubble, are now back to the wall: they will be permanently eliminated from the play-off race if they do not win Friday against New Orleans , or if Orlando and Brooklyn win their next games.
In the West, the Grizzlies are also in doubt, after their loss to Utah Jazz (115-124), their fourth in four games since the resumption.
Joe Ingles stood out on the Jazz side with 25 points, including two decisive three-point shots in the + money time +. Mike Conley (23 pts) and Rudy Gobert (21 pts, 6 rebounds) were not left out.
On the side of Memphis, the 23 points of Dillion Brooks, added to the 20 points of the young star Ja Morant and the 21 points and 14 rebounds of the Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas were not enough to win.
© 2020 AFP