LeBron James leads the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA Western Conference Finals as he scores 30 points in dominant Game 6 122-101 victory over reigning champions Golden State Warriors
- The Golden State Warriors’ season is over after losing series in six Friday night
- LeBron James starred as the Los Angeles Lakers set up Denver Nuggets clash
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Defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors have been eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers.
LeBron James scored 30 points to lead the Lakers into the NBA Conference Finals as they won their semifinal series in six games, courtesy of a 122-101 victory on Friday night.
The superstar also had nine rebounds and nine assists as the seventh-seeded Lakers will face Nikola Jokic and the top-seeded Nuggets in the Western Conference finals starting Tuesday night in Denver.
Anthony Davis had 17 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers, who never trailed in a closeout victory that punctuated their increasingly incredible late-season surge.
Austin Reaves scored 23 points, highlighted by a 54-footer from midcourt at the halftime buzzer for the Lakers.
LeBron James starred for the Los Angeles Lakers as they eliminated the reigning champions
Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura celebrates during Lakers’ massive Game 6 victory
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry walks on the court after his team were eliminated
‘It’s special to get that win to beat a team that’s so established and so good,’ Reaves said.
‘I think the seeding things are just numbers. When you have guys like Bron and AD who have won championships, you always feel like you have a chance, especially with the roster that we have, the talent that we have.’
The Lakers improved to 7-0 at home since the regular season ended with three wins in seven days over the Warriors.
Los Angeles also snapped Golden State’s streak of 28 playoff series with at least one road victory – an NBA-record run encompassing Stephen Curry’s entire career.
James, Davis and the Lakers are the first team since 2014 to eliminate Curry’s Warriors from the playoffs before the NBA Finals.
‘It’s been a challenging year, to say the least, but we kept powering through,’ first-year head coach Darvin Ham said.
‘Our vibes stayed positive, and finally our new pieces came together. I’m just so excited I get to sit in this seat and enjoy the ride.’
Golden State has played in six of the last eight NBA Finals, missing the playoffs entirely in the other two seasons.
Curry scored 32 points while missing 10 of his 14 3-point attempts for the sixth-seeded Warriors, whose pursuit of their fifth championship in nine seasons ended with three straight road losses and an inept offensive performance by Curry’s teammates in Game 6, including a 3-of-19 effort by Klay Thompson, who missed 10 of his 12 3-point attempts.
‘The better team won, and I can’t fault our players for the effort,’ Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.
‘Because these guys are such competitors, it’s going to hurt. But that’s why we play: To compete against the best and see what we’ve got. Didn’t quite have enough, but it wasn’t for a lack of heart or effort.’
The Splash Brothers were far too dry when it mattered against the Lakers: Thompson went 10 for 36 on 3-pointers in the series’ final four games, while Curry was 14 for 49.
Donte DiVincenzo had a playoff-high 16 points for the Warriors, but Curry was their only starter in double figures, with the other four shooting 11 for 38.
‘Definitely disappointing,’ Draymond Green said. ‘It’s been a long time since we finished in May, just trying to process the feelings. In the end, they were the better team.’
The Lakers immediately took charge in the first quarter, survived the Warriors’ few rallies and blew it open in the fourth quarter with a balanced effort led by the 38-year-old James, a four-time NBA champion.
The 20-year veteran can still assert his will as forcefully as almost any elite player
The 20-year veteran can still assert his will as forcefully as almost any elite player, and he quarterbacked the Lakers’ offensive effort while Davis, who started after a head injury scare in Game 5, played another standout defensive game.
D’Angelo Russell scored 19 points as the Lakers capably survived the third-quarter ejection of Dennis Schroder, the sparkplug guard and primary defender on Curry.
Schroder was tossed after receiving his second technical foul of the night from an exchange with Draymond Green, but his absence scarcely seemed to help the Warriors, who couldn’t make their open shots far too often.
The Lakers haven’t lost back-to-back games since March 17, and they’ve lost just once at home since March 26.
On a 27-12 roll since bolstering their supporting cast around James and Davis at the trade deadline, Los Angeles is headed to the Conference Finals for the second time in the superstars’ four-year partnership.
After knocking off the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in six games in the first round, the Lakers followed that series’ exact win-loss pattern against the champs: Steal Game 1 on the road, and then coolly capitalize on their homecourt advantage to seal the series with three straight wins in front of their frenzied, celebrity-studded crowds.
Schroder had five assists and defended doggedly in his first start of the postseason for the Lakers, but the German point guard was ejected on a curious call after Green pushed the ball into Schroder’s face.
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