LeBron James leads Lakers past Timberwolves for NBA playoff spot

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (L) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (R) on Tuesday at Arena in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
1 of 5 | Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (L) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (R) on Tuesday at Arena in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 12 (UPI) -- LeBron James totaled a game-high 30 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a comeback, overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA play-in tournament game in Los Angeles.

The Lakers, who clinched the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, trailed by as many as 15 points in the victory Tuesday at Arena. James totaled 10 rebounds and six assists, in addition to his game-high point total.


"To turn around our season and give ourselves an opportunity to compete for the Larry O'Brien Trophy, that's all you can ask for," James told reporters.

The game featured three lead changes. The Lakers outscored the Timberwolves 54-36 in the paint, 40-20 off the bench and 15-12 off fast breaks.

With the victory, they earned the right to face the No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. The Timberwolves will face the winner of the New Orleans Pelicans-Oklahoma City Thunder game to determine the No. 8 seed and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.


"We expected to win this game," Timberwolves guard Mike Conley Jr. said. "It's disappointing to lose. We had a lead and let it slip."

Lakers center Anthony Davis scored the first points of the night. The Timberwolves answered with seven unanswered points and carried a 28-22 lead into the second quarter. Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns scored nine points over the first 12 minutes.

James scored a dozen in the second quarter, but the Timberwolves outscored the Lakers 32-27 and carried a 60-49 edge into halftime.

The Timberwolves used an 11-2 run to push their lead to 15 in the third, but the Lakers outscored the Timberwolves 30-26 in the quarter. James scored 11 over those 12 minutes. The Lakers trailed by seven to start the fourth.

Conley made a 3-pointer 46 seconds into the fourth. The Lakers answered with seven unanswered points to trim the deficit to three. They added 10 unanswered points toward the end of the quarter.

Lakers guard Dennis Schroder made a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining for a 98-95 lead. Davis then fouled Conley on the game's final shot attempt. He made three free throws to force overtime.


The Lakers scored the first five points of overtime and never trailed again. They outscored the Timberwolves 10-4 over the final five minutes.

Davis totaled 24 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Schroder chipped in 21 points off the bench. Towns led the Timberwolves with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Timberwolves star guard Anthony Edwards scored just nine points in the loss.

The New Orleans Pelicans will host the Oklahoma City Thunder in another NBA play-in game at 9:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday in New Orleans. The winner will meet the Timberwolves at 9:30 p.m. Friday in Minneapolis to determine the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Lakers will face the Grizzlies in Game 1 of their first-round series at 3 p.m. EDT Sunday in Memphis.

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LeBron James when he was a high school senior playing basketball at the James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron, Ohio, on February 14, 2003. Photo by Tom Cammett/UPI | License Photo

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