And a great morning to be Lonnie Walker IV. Haven’t heard of him? He was the 4th-quarter hero last night on a court that featured LeBron, AD, Steph, and Klay. The last time a Lakers player scored 15-plus off the bench in any quarter of a playoff game was 26 years ago (to the day) — May 8, 1997.
That man was Kobe Bryant. World, meet Lonnie Walker IV.
Lonnie Legend: Candle Stay Lit
Bench Heroes: Lakers (Lonnie Walker IV) & Heat (Kyle Lowry) Get Huge Performances Off the Bench to Win Game 4s
Despite all the star power dominating the NBA Playoffs, Monday was one for the bench heroes. The Heat got 32 points from their bench, including 15 from veteran Kyle Lowry to grab Game 4 against the Knicks. In the nightcap, the Lakers rallied late to beat the Warriors thanks to an unlikely hero — Lonnie Walker IV. What will forever be known as “The Lonnie Walker IV Game” was quite the show. Walker scored all 15 of his points (6-for-9, FG) in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers erase a seven-point deficit and overcome a triple-double from Stephen Curry (31-14-10). The 24-year-old scored just eight points in the opening-round series against the Grizzlies, but he’s now scored 36 points in the last three games. As he put it in his viral post-game tweet: “Candle Stay Lit “ — In other words, “always be ready.” Walker (15) nearly outscored Golden State (17) by himself in the 4th, primarily during a stretch where Los Angeles was desperately searching for buckets. The Lakers (7-seed) and Heat (8-seed) are now just one win away from the conference finals.
Fun Fact: Lonnie Walker IV is the first Lakers player to score 15-plus off the bench in a single quarter of a playoff game since Kobe Bryant (May 8, 1997).
Game 4 Bench Comparisons
Heat (32 points) > Knicks (10 points)
Lakers (27 points) > Warriors (21 points)
Conference Semifinal Highlights
Gm 4: Heat def. Knicks (109-101) | MIA Leads (3-1)
Gm 4: Lakers def. Warriors (104-101) | LAL Leads (3-1)
S. Curry (GSW): 31 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds, 3 steals
J. Brunson (NYK): 32 points, 11 assists
J. Butler (MIA): 27 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists
L. James (LAL): 27 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists
A. Davis (LAL): 23 points, 15 rebounds
Gm 5: 76ers at Celtics (7:30 pm ET) | Series Tied (2-2)
Gm 5: Suns at Nuggets (10:00 pm ET) | Series Tied (2-2)
Golden Knights Hold Oilers Scoreless for 57-Plus Minutes in Game 3 Win (5-1)
On today’s episode of “things you won’t see again,” the Oilers’ duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held to a goose egg on Monday night. You’re reading that right. The Oilers got on the board early in Game 3 with a nifty shot from Warren Foegele, but Vegas would (somehow) hold the Edmonton offense scoreless for the final 57-plus minutes en route to a 5-1 win. Jonathan Marchessault notched two goals while Jack Eichel tallied three points (1 goal, 2 assists), and the Golden Knights are back in control of the series. Two critical Game 4s arrive this evening while the Panthers (up 3-0) are the only team skating through Round 2.
Conference Semifinals Highlights
Gm 3: Golden Knights def. Oilers (5-1) | VGK Leads (2-1)
Gm 4: Hurricanes at Devils (7:00 pm ET) | CAR Leads (2-1)
Gm 4: Stars at Kraken (9:30 pm ET) | SEA Leads (2-1)
Re-Run Rays: The AL’s Best Battle
Rays’ Ace Shane McClanahan Shuts Out Orioles in Battle of AL’s Top Teams
Just over one week into May and the two top teams in the American League are… Tampa Bay and Baltimore? You got it. The Rays and O’s began a three-game series this week as the top two teams in the AL, not just the AL East. Tampa Bay (29-7) got a shutout win over Baltimore (22-13) behind Shane McClanahan’s gem (6 IP, 7 Ks, 4 Hits, 0 ER). As you probably remember, the Rays opened the year with a historic 13-0 start. They’ve gone 16-7 since while dropping just two series in total through six weeks of the season — both 2-1 series losses to the Blue Jays and Astros. They’re now 6-1 to open May, a month that includes series with the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Blue Jays. Will Tampa re-run another hot streak and stay top dogs by June?
Rangers-Mariners Pitching Duel: The Rangers eked out a win over the Mariners Monday night (2-1) in a pitcher’s delight. Logan Gilbert (Seattle) tossed six perfect innings to open the game, but Jon Gray (Texas) got the win after a seven-inning gem (7 IP, 8 Ks, 4 Hits, 1 ER).
Contreras Returns to Wrigley: Willson Contreras returned to Wrigley Field on Monday for the first time since trading in his Cubs jersey for a rivals Cardinals uniform. He had two hits and two RBIs in a 3-1 win over his former team. The Cards (12-24) are still dead last in the NL.
Mitch’s Pitches Help Bucs End Skid: Mitch Keller fanned eight batters over a full nine innings last night to earn a shutout win for the Pirates against the Rockies (2-0) and snap a seven-game losing streak. Despite the skid, the Pirates (21-15) are still leading the NL Central.
This list favors action. It favors the smooth and volatile—charisma machines that set fire to our imaginations. It favors the guys we’re most likely to organize our evenings around, morale boosters, the players who pop. (The Ringer)
As far as fantasy football is concerned, the conclusion of the NFL draft just means that draft season has truly begun. Let’s break down some of the players who benefitted most and those who fantasy managers may want to downgrade. (Bleacher Report)
They came 150,000 strong for the party of the year, adorned in the gaudiest of hats and sipping on mint juleps, witnesses to what, at its best, is the most thrilling two minutes in sports. Sadly, the stench of death overwhelmed the Kentucky Derby. (AP News)