Lakers Outlast Timberwolves In OT, Claim 7-Seed In Western Conference Playoffs
LOS ANGELES -- Nearly everything about this season has been a grueling challenge for the Los Angeles Lakers, so nobody in a gold jersey really seemed surprised when Anthony Davis committed a baffling foul that allowed Minnesota's Mike Conley to snatch a playoff berth from their hands with 0.1 seconds on the regulation clock.
LeBron James had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Lakers snagged the seventh spot in the Western Conference playoffs with a 108-102 victory over the short-handed Timberwolves in the NBA's play-in tournament Tuesday night.
Conley hit three clutch free throws to tie it after Davis foolishly fouled him on a 3-point attempt, but the Lakers coolly kept rolling toward their 10th win in 12 games overall. Their reward is a date with the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round starting Sunday.
"It took everything out of us to get to where we are, and it took more out of us tonight," Davis said. "But we've got a couple of days before we go to Memphis to start preparing for them. It's been a battle. It's been an up-and-down season for us, but now is the time to show who we are, and we showed it tonight."
The Wolves forced overtime when Conley hit his free throws after Davis stepped on his foot after he had already released a 3-point attempt. Davis and James said they had a mix-up about who was supposed to defend the shooter in the corner.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points for the Wolves, who will host New Orleans or Oklahoma City on Friday for the eighth spot and a first-round date with top-seeded Denver beginning Sunday.
After leading for most of the night, Minnesota went scoreless for six full minutes in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles began its comeback after Towns had to sit with his fifth foul, and it took the lead for good on a 3-pointer on the opening possession of OT by Rui Hachimura, who had 12 points.
Coming up Wednesday on ESPN 102.3/AM 1000 KSOO is a double-header leading off with Chicago and Toronto. Tip-time is 6:00 PM. Then, Oklahoma City faces New Orleans.