The Golden State Warriors won’t be successful again. LeBron James was involved once more.
James scored 30 points to help the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 on Friday, 122-101. In the Western Conference finals, they will compete against the Denver Nuggets, who defeated the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
Since they hired head coach Steve Kerr in 2014, the Warriors have never been eliminated by a Western Conference team in the playoffs. Since then, they have either made it to the NBA Finals, where they have won four times and lost twice—once to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers and once to the Toronto Raptors—or they have failed to advance at all in 2020 and 2021.
The 2021 campaign came to an end in the play-in tournament, where they were defeated by the Lakers in the opening contest.
While Anthony Davis dominated on defense and the boards with 17 points, 20 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, LeBron James was magnificent as usual on Friday, shooting 10-of-14 with 9 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals in addition to his scoring. The Miami Heat and Lakers are the only two play-in teams from this postseason to advance to the conference finals.
How can you stop the Warriors from scoring throughout the duration of a series? It turns out that the solution is to have Davis guard the paint while they struggle from beyond the arc. The Warriors had a poor night at the perimeter, shooting a combined 13-of-48 heading into the game after shooting 31.7% from outside the arc in their previous three games.
Every player the Warriors often use to hit opponents from a distance struggled. When he scored 32 points on an ineffective 11-of-28 shooting, Stephen Curry didn’t appear to be Stephen Curry. With a 3-of-19 shooting percentage and 8 points, Klay Thompson most certainly didn’t resemble the Klay Thompson of old.
Jordan Poole, on the other hand, abruptly vanished once more. The playoff breakout player from a year ago concluded a terrible series with 7 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
After taking an early double-digit lead in the first quarter, the Lakers never trailed. For the majority of the second, the Lakers’ lead was under 10, but an Austin Reaves halfcourt heave increased it to 10 as the final buzzer sounded. Reaves had 20 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds at the game’s conclusion.
This season, the Warriors never recaptured their champion form
The Warriors’ rocky season, which began with an odd spat between Poole and Draymond Green, comes to a conclusion with the series defeat.
A new generation of younger players, led by Poole, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and others, was supposed to keep the Warriors among the NBA’s best for years, but they needed Curry and company just to make the playoffs. Their aging core couldn’t fill the gaps they used to, and their bench was infamously weak throughout the season.
Golden State needed seven games to beat the Sacramento Kings in the first round after their regular season record of 44-38 put them sixth in the West. When they repeated the same form in the following round, they weren’t as fortunate.
How do the Lakers and Nuggets compare?
The Lakers’ next opponent will probably be a more difficult test, even though beating the Warriors has frequently been the NBA’s equivalent of slaying the dragon.
Starting with MVP runner-up Nikola Joki, the Nuggets have been outstanding all season. They are the top seed in the West. Davis will be charged with managing the best passing big man of all time, who is playing with the best supporting cast of his career, rather than controlling the paint alongside Green and Kevon Looney.
The Lakers did well against the Nuggets this season, going 2-2, and one of those defeats occurred with James and Davis both out due to injury. The Lakers have a ceiling as high as anyone at this time, even if the Nuggets are unquestionably great because to their star-studded lineup and additions made after the trade deadline.
Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Denver (ESPN) is when Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals is set to take place.