LOS ANGELES — There was exactly one second left on the clock Sunday when Trae Young, the Atlanta Hawks’ tantalizing rookie, unleashed a floater within the lane that threatened to cap a 15-point comeback for a riveting street win.
The ball hung within the air for what felt like an eternity earlier than backup middle Tyson Chandler rose up to tip it away, securing a 107-106 win for the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center that improved their season record to 7-6.
You need to discuss an eternity? Ask the Lakers how lengthy it has been since they final felt what it was wish to be over .500. The once-proud franchise, with these 16 championship banners hanging from the rafters, went practically two years since a 111-109 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 22, 2016 put them at 8-7 to begin Brandon Ingram’s rookie yr.
|Lakers on Nov. 22, 2016||Current group|
|Luol Deng||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Julius Randle||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Timofey Mozgov||Orlando Magic|
|Nick Young||Last performed for Golden State Warriors in 2018|
|Jose Calderon||Detroit Pistons|
|Tarik Black||Last performed for Houston Rockets in 2018|
|Larry Nance Jr.||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Brandon Ingram||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Jordan Clarkson||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Lou Williams||LA Clippers|
|Marcelo Huertas*||Last performed for Los Angeles Lakers in 2017|
|Thomas Robinson*||Last performed for Los Angeles Lakers in 2017|
|Metta World Peace*||Last performed for Los Angeles Lakers in 2017|
|D’Angelo Russell*||Brooklyn Nets|
|Ivica Zubac*||Los Angeles Lakers|
|*Inactive or DNP-CD in 111-109 Lakers win vs Thunder on Nov. 22, 2016|
Rob Pelinka was James Harden’s agent then, not the Lakers’ basic supervisor. Magic Johnson was extra apt to tear the group on Twitter, than to decorate down their coach in a closed-door assembly as he did lately in his position as group president of basketball operations. LeBron James was basking within the glow of his championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Barack Obama was president. Instagram tales had been simply being rolled out on the app.
“It’s good to lastly have a winning perspective round right here,” Ingram stated when requested to look again on the final two years. “We simply need to proceed to maintain going. I do not suppose we are able to keep complacent proper now.”
It took 12 video games, however the Los Angeles Lakers lastly held an opponent underneath 110 factors and improved to 6-6.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, in attendance for Sunday’s Lakers-Hawks sport at Staples Center, stated he supported “our gamers’ need to talk out on points which are necessary to them and necessary to society.”
The veteran middle made a right away impression on the Lakers’ protection and rebounding only a day after arriving from Phoenix.
You actually need to discuss an eternity? Ask Chandler how lengthy it has been since he completed a season with a winning group — go all the best way again to the 2014-15 Dallas Mavericks that ended up 50-32.
After the Lakers plucked him from purgatory in Phoenix final week, he has recognized nothing however winning since becoming a member of Los Angeles, as Sunday stretched the Lakers’ winning streak to 3 with Chandler in tow.
And when it was over, after Los Angeles lucked out on a kicked ball that wasn’t referred to as with 1:37 left resulting in a tying layup from Kyle Kuzma; after James missed back-to-back free throws with 19.9 seconds left and one way or the other acquired two factors on the possession anyway by dunking residence a tip-in after Kuzma saved the ball alive, Chandler and James screamed in jubilation, pounded one another’s chests and hugged on the court docket to commemorate the second.
“It was simply off the response of Tyson,” James stated, describing their embrace. “And I consider that it is only for him to be taking part in winning basketball as soon as once more, I believe these feelings got here out. To make a game-winning block, you do not see that a lot in our league.”
James’ most well-known game-winning block — not within the ultimate second, thoughts you, so game-saving is likely to be extra apropos — got here in Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2016 to win a hoop. Chandler beat James’ Miami Heat in 2011 to win his ring with the Mavericks.
This was two former champions celebrating a regular-season win, taking part in for a franchise that has racked up extra accolades than any NBA group outdoors of Boston, and, you already know what, it wasn’t gauche. It wasn’t embarrassing.
LeBron James says Tyson Chandler has been “nice” in his first three video games with the Lakers, and he himself wants to seek out his rhythm on free throws.
It was the kind of unbridled enthusiasm that it’ll in the end take the Lakers to get again to the perch they as soon as held for thus lengthy. If the Lakers’ elder leaders deliver that a lot vitality to this factor, their younger items — Ingram, Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart — can have no selection however to observe go well with.
You need to discuss an eternity? This was the primary game-winning dunk of James’ profession within the ultimate minute of a sport. And it got here on his 2,061st slam, in response to analysis by ESPN Stats & Information.
LeBron James misses a possible tying free throw within the ultimate minute vs. the Hawks however throws down a observe dunk after the Lakers rebound his miss.
In different phrases, there are nonetheless issues left for the outdated canine to perform as they carry alongside the younger pups. There’s some salvation to be discovered within the regular-season grind, even for guys who’re used to taking part in within the postseason highlight.
“I nonetheless get excited by each single win, particularly this group is a gaggle of unbelievable guys, a combination of veterans that I’ve competed in opposition to my complete profession after which younger guys that I’m rising to understand,” Chandler stated. “It’s simply each single second on the market that we get a chance to develop, I do know what it will take for the end of the yr. So once more, simply attempting to cherish each a type of moments and attempting to develop on the similar time.”
As Chandler answered, James shouted throughout the locker room, “That’s my dawg! That’s my dawg!”
It wasn’t fairly Magic leaping into Kareem’s arms after their first regular-season win collectively, and Abdul-Jabbar trying on the rookie as if he had misplaced his thoughts, however there was a touch of that sentiment.
Winning feels nice. There’s nothing prefer it. And the Lakers are tasting it once more in the end.
“We each need precisely the identical factor and that is to show this historic franchise that is gained over all through the years and get it again to these sort of days,” Chandler stated of he and James. “And in an effort to do this, you bought to have these sort of moments.”