Three months ago, the Lakers were written off as a failed experiment and forced to compete in the Play-In Tournament.
Now, they are in the Western Conference finals.
LeBron James’ season continued on the same night when the Warriors, the defending champions, were in ruins and looked nothing like the team that had won nine titles in a row or another trophy just last summer.
The scenario at the conclusion of the first half of Game 6 served as the perfect cue for anyone needing to pinpoint the precise instant this transition took place.
It completely explained everything. After Anthony Davis blocked a 3-point attempt from Klay Thompson, Austin Reaves snatched up the loose ball and swished a half-court jumper to beat the buzzer.
Right there it was: Klay and Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ best long-range shooters for more than a decade, became the Gassed Brothers because they were left with nothing.
Throughout the entire series, Davis dominated with his presence in the paint, on the glass, and with mid-range daggers.
Additionally, Reaves’ 23 points represented the supporting cast members who gave this squad life and effortlessly complemented LeBron and AD.
This is not a championship club, according to Warriors coach Steve Kerr. We would have moved on if it were.
In their four years together, Davis and LeBron had never lost a series in which both were fully healthy. Davis said: “Me and ‘Bron want another one,” referring to a championship to equal the first one they won together in 2020.
The Lakers, who started the season with a record of 2-10 and were briefly ranked 13th in the West standings, will therefore move on with fewer uncertainties than the Warriors, who will return home with plenty.
The NBA Finals are one step closer for LeBron
And when he gets there, he typically cashes out and continues to play into June. But the Nuggets should worry about that starting next week.
While this was going on, LeBron continued to defy ageism and play in his 20th season. He played well in each of the six games, never really displaying any signs of rust, weariness, or even sloppiness – impressive for a 38-year-old who has had many long postseason runs.
It’s absurd that the Warriors, for some reason, disclosed that Andrew Wiggins, who protected LeBron, had rib pain before Game 6 of their series. What did LeBron do then? From the opening leap, he frequently engaged Wiggins in post-up maneuvers.
With 30 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists in — get this — 43 minutes here in the middle of May, LeBron came close to a triple-double in the final game.
Against Wiggins, Draymond Green, and the Warriors, the reigning champions, he simply refused to display any strain or weakness.
LeBron, who has 41 career series victories to his credit, is vying to make his 11th Finals trip (the Nuggets will have last say).
Darvin Ham, the Lakers’ head coach, said: “Simply unbelievable. Played poorly throughout the series; there were fingerprints all over the game; incredible steals and shot blocks.
Too Much Pressure and Expectations of Curry
Curry described the upcoming offseason for Golden State as “unfamiliar territory.” With one of the most expensive rosters in the NBA and a new CBA designed to rein in big spenders, Golden State is probably going to try to cut expenses.
Given that Curry has been in charge for the previous ten years, the team’s transformation from being a directionless middle-of-the-road organization to one of the most financially valued ones might be dramatic.
Golden State will also need to make a decision regarding the young players it tried to nurture while vying for a title; this strategy has come under fire for putting too much pressure on Curry, who is 35 years old.
Given that Poole, 23, had been signed by Golden State to a four-year contract extension worth up to $140 million in October, his struggles during the playoffs were a worry.
Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga, both 20 years old, were inconsistent starters for the whole season.
Additionally, Bob Myers’ contract, who has served as the team’s general manager for the past ten years, expires this year. Another architect could lead the dynasty into its next phase.
Curry, the team’s most alluring player, was Golden State’s lone shining star this season. He displayed some of the best basketball of his career, and some of the greatest basketball ever.
Golden State met the third-seeded Kings in a pivotal Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs in Sacramento. Curry shot seven 3-pointers and scored 50 points, which is a record for a Game 7 score.
The alchemy that had made his teams so successful was brought back to mind by it.
Curry clarified on Friday, though, that making it to the conference semifinals was not “a moral victory.”
Despite the fact that there is a lot of pride in what we have accomplished, he added, “this is not good enough.” read full article