Lakers grab 2-1 lead in West semis

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James didn’t take a shot in the first quarter of Game 3 for the first time in his NBA-record 275 playoff appearances, and the Los Angeles Lakers’ home crowd rumbled with mild uncertainty each time he passed the ball instead.

Turns out James and his Lakers were just taking a while to warm up before they steamrolled the Golden State Warriors.

Anthony Davis had 25 points and 13 rebounds, a slow-starting James finished with 21 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, and the Lakers took a 2-1 lead in their second-round playoff series with a 127-97 victory Sunday (PH time).

D’Angelo Russell hit five 3-pointers while scoring 21 points for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who remained unbeaten at home in the postseason with a strong defensive effort against the reigning NBA champions. Los Angeles seized control in the middle quarters, outscoring the Warriors 63-38 to turn Game 3 into a blowout.

James curiously didn’t shoot the ball until well into the second quarter, yet he led the way while Los Angeles pulled away. The 38-year-old also mixed in a handful of plays that defied his age and 20 years of NBA experience, making a deft spin move and blocking a shot on the other end shortly after he leaped the front row of fans and ran well up into the stands following a deflection.

Stephen Curry scored 23 points and Andrew Wiggins had 16 in a collective stinker for the Warriors, who committed 19 turnovers and never mounted a response to the Lakers on either end in the second half. Golden State went 13 for 44 on 3-pointers — making just 10 while the game was still competitive — after hitting 21 in each of the series’ first two games in San Francisco.

Game 4 is Monday night in Los Angeles (Tuesday, PH time).

Davis had an impressive bounce-back game under both baskets, blocking four shots and leading the Lakers’ latest strong defensive effort. Los Angeles has built its 16-5 run since March 17 on defense, and the Warriors couldn’t hit enough shots from the perimeter to counteract their disadvantages in size and athleticism. (AP)