The Shock Exchange fell asleep on game four of the Lakers and Warriors playoff game last night. In the first half it was pretty much nip and tuck as both teams had a feeling out stage in the first half. Apparently after the Shock Exchange dozed off, Lonnie Walker IV showed his “you know what” in the fourth quarter, scoring all 15 of his points during the period, and shutting down the Warriors:
Lonnie Walker IV, turning in a fourth-quarter offensive performance unmatched by a Lakers player since Kobe Bryant did it before he was even born, took over Game 4 of Los Angeles’ second-round series against the Golden State Warriors.
Walker scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter. He became the first Laker off the bench with 15 points or more in the fourth quarter of a playoff game since Bryant did it 26 years ago to the day and led the Lakers to a 104-101 win Monday evening, putting his team up 3-1 in the series and one win away from the Western Conference finals.
Walker went 6-for-9 in the closing frame, matching the field goals made by the entire Warriors team (6-for-17). No shot was bigger than his pull-up jumper with Stephen Curry guarding him with 1:53 remaining that put the Lakers up 100-99, a lead they would not relinquish.
Lakers prevailed 104-101, with Steph and Klay combining for 46 points for the Warriors, while LeBron and Anthony Davis combined for 50. However, Walker stole the show down the stretch, matching Curry’s offensive output and over-matching Curry on a bevy of mid-range pull-up jumpers, stutter steps, crossovers and a nice runner in the lane. Walker IV seized the moment and brought that “young man’s energy” that Warriors hoped they would get from Gary Payton II, Moses Moody and Donte Divincenzo.
The offensive outburst really does not tell the whole story. It wasn’t just what Walker IV did, but when he did it and how he did it. Walker IV took over in crunch time when LeBron and Davis were obviously gassed. On one sequence he beat Klay to a loose ball and drove the length of the court for a lay-in that only “fresh legs” could have completed. LeBron and Davis got the Lakers into the red zone and yielded to Walker IV has he did his “Andrew Toney impression” and put the Lakers on his back. Walker IV went around Curry, he went by Curry and on one position, manned up on Steph, and put a mid-range jumper in his eye – right in his eye. It was the equivalent of, “I will signal the jumper is coming, let you jump with me, and you still can’t stop it.
Below the Shock Exchange predicted the game would come down to whether Walker IV, Denis Schroeder or Hachimura would outplay Payton II, JaMychal Green and Divincenzo. It played out just like the Shock Exchange laid it out.
Immediately after Walker IV’s onslaught, media pundits looked for comparisons to former NBA players. He reminded the Shock Exchange of former 76er’s great, Andrew Toney, a 6’3″ wrecking ball that could score from anywhere on the court,. Toney could post-up, overpower smaller defenders, and blow by bigger defenders. He had an uncanny ability to get his shot off and he deferred to no one – including Dr. J and Charles Barkley.
Toney was surgical in the mid-range and he flummoxed defenders because they knew what was coming and could not stop it. Toney had to bide his time coming off the bench until he took someone’s job in the rotation. If Toney was the “Boston Strangler” then does that make Walker the “Golden State Slayer?” Walker IV was banished to bench after starting earlier in the year, but looked like a starter Tuesday night. Somewhere Andrew Toney is wondering to himself, “Did I really play like that in my day?”