Lakers move within one win of conference finals

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LeBron James and Lonnie Walker IV sparked a furious second-half rally as the Los Angeles Lakers put the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors on the brink of elimination with a 104-101 win Monday in Game 4 of the teams’ Western Conference semifinal series.

James finished with 27 points and Walker scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter as the seventh-seeded Lakers overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit and grabbed a 3-1 series lead.

Led by Stephen Curry’s 31-point, 14-assist, 10-rebound triple-double, Golden State looked poised to even the series after building a 77-65 lead with four minutes left in the third quarter.

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Los Angeles then outscored the Warriors 21-7 over the next seven minutes, with James scoring seven points during the run that Walker capped with a layup that put the Lakers up 86-84 with 9:27 remaining.

The Warriors answered and took a 99-96 lead on Klay Thompson’s 3-pointer with three minutes left, but the Lakers scored the next six points before Curry’s layup brought Golden State within 102-101 entering the final minute.

Curry missed two shots in the final 30 seconds, however, and Walker hit two free throws to extend the Lakers’ lead to three before the Warriors turned the ball over in the waning seconds.

Anthony Davis added 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who will try to clinch the series in San Francisco in Wednesday’s Game 5, while Austin Reaves contributed 21 points to the victory.

Heat handle Knicks again to take 3-1 series lead

Jimmy Butler had 27 points and 10 assists and the Miami Heat moved a win away from a return trip to the Eastern Conference finals with a 109-101 victory over the New York Knicks.

Bam Adebayo added 23 points and 13 rebounds to help the Heat take a 3-1 series lead and move closer towards becoming only the second No. 8 seed in NBA history to reach the conference finals. The Knicks accomplished the feat in 1999 and ultimately reached the NBA Finals before losing to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.

Miami, which upset East No. 1 seed Milwaukee in five games in the first round, can advance to its third conference final in four years with a win in New York in Wednesday’s Game 5.

Adebayo had 16 first-half points to spur Miami to a 56-48 lead at intermission and the Heat held a 90-81 advantage entering the fourth quarter. They shot just 27.3 per cent in the final period, but the Knicks never got closer than six points down and were further hampered when All-Star Julius Randle fouled out with 3:08 left.

Jalen Brunson led New York with 32 points and 11 assists, while RJ Barrett finished with 24 points and Randle had 20 points and nine rebounds before exiting.