Miami basketball alum Lonnie Walker set social media afire

May 8, 2023; Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2023; Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami basketball alum Lonnie Walker set social media afire after scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 104-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. The win put the Lakers up three games to one in the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals.

Walker scored 29 points in six playoff games this season before his breakout performance on Monday night. Prior to Monday night Walker’s previous high was 12 points against the Warriors in garbage time during a 127-100 loss in game two. Walker has received praise throughout social media for his performance.

LeBron James stated after the game that “We don’t win this game without Walker tonight, that’s for sure.” Following the game before James was interviewed by TNT, he and Anthony Davis embraced Walker. Walker had a solid season for L.A. averaging 11.8 points per game before falling out of the Lakers’ rotation.

James said he told Walker to be ready that the Lakers would need him at some point in the playoffs. The Lakers outscored the Warriors 27-17 in the fourth quarter to earn the critical win. Walker shot 6-9 from the floor, 1-3 on threes, 2-2 on free throws and added three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

In his one season at Miami Walker earned honorable Mention All-ACC (first freshman in Miami history to earn all-league honors) and was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team. Walker led Miami averaging 11.5 PPG, played in all 32 games, with 18 starts and added 2.6 APG and 1.9 RPG.

Walker and the Lakers could face former Miami basketball star Bruce Brown and the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Western Conference Finals. Denver is tied 2-2 in the other Western Conference semifinal series with the Phoenix Suns. Brown and Walker were teammates on the Miami basketball team in 2017-18.

Brown played in only 19 games in their one season together with Miami before suffering a season-ending injury. Brown and Walker both left for the NBA Draft following the 2017-18 season. Walker was the 18th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs and Brown 42nd overall in the second round by Detroit.

The series returns to San Francisco on Wednesday night where the Lakers will have a chance to win the series versus the Warriors. Walker has earned more playing time after being the catalyst in the last 12 minutes behind the Lakers’ game-four win. Walker matched a Lakers Legend on Monday night.

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Walker is the first Lakers player to score 15 points off the bench in a playoff game since Kobe Bryant in a 104-84 Los Angeles win over the Utah Jazz in 1997. The Lakers lost that series 4-1. This is the first season for Walker with the Lakers after spending his first four years in the NBA with San Antonio.