NBA: Los Angeles Lakers eliminated Golden State Warriors and advanced to the Western Conference final on an unforgettable night
LeBron James beat Stephen Curry, in the duel of super stars of the best basketball league in the world
With a masterful performance by LeBron James , the Los Angeles Lakers beat Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors 122-101 this Friday , the reigning NBA champions , and finished with a 4-2 aggregate in this Western Conference semifinal.
LeBron James reached 30 points for the first time in these playoffs while Curry had 32 but he was too alone to prevent this resounding elimination of the Warriors, the franchise that has won four of the last eight NBA rings. The rival in the Western final of the surprising Lakers, who qualified for the playoffs in the playoffs, will be Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets , first in the conference.
The Lakers, who had missed a first chance to qualify on Wednesday, gave their rival no options this Friday and celebrated in style the hang out with your fans , including a collection of celebrities such as tycoon Elon Musk, actor Jack Nicholson or singer Bud Bunny. “Not many of our players have been in elimination matches,” James said. “So after the fifth game I knew I had to start very aggressive but also very efficient and strategic.” The victory also meant a small revenge for LeBron James against Stephen Curry, the two players who have marked the last decade in the NBA and who coincidentally were born in the same town of Akron (Ohio). “It was great to be able to play one of our most efficient games, one of our best games in the series, and it all started with the defensive matchup,” James said. “We defended at a high level, and when we do we can be extremely good.”
“It’s not the end of the road”
As the leader of the Cavaliers, ‘King James’ succumbed in three of the four consecutive Finals played against the Warriors between 2015 and 2018. At 38 years old, and established as the all-time leading scorer in the NBA, James now indulged in deal their great rivals an unusual defeat in almost a decade. The Warriors of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green had not lost in a Western tie since Steve Kerr took over as coach in the 2014-15 season.
In total it was a streak of 19 consecutive victories in series against rivals from the West, with the two-year hiatus out of the playoffs (2020 and 2021), which ended on Friday painfully, raising many questions about the future of the dynasty. “Draymond, Klay, Steph, our core of players, still have a lot to offer,” Kerr stressed. “I still believe that this team has the potential to be champion. We didn’t get it this year, but it’s not the end of the road,” Kerr said in an opinion shared by his all-star trio.
“As terrible as our feelings are right now, we feel like we can come back,” Curry said before speaking about the importance of his rivalry with LeBron. “Every time it’s just battle, basketball and competition at the highest level. You have to understand who LeBron has been throughout his career, the rings he has won and the records he has,” he said. “He’s an incredible player and you know you have to do your best to beat him, and I think he feels the same way,” he said. “In the end only one can win, it’s the nature of this but there is a lot of respect.”
embrace of stars
After Wednesday’s loss, the Lakers came out determined to avoid returning to San Francisco for a Game 7 at all costs. The local stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis (17 points and 20 rebounds), imposed their law from the start and before the end of the first quarter they already dominated 27-10.
On the side of the Warriors, Curry had to multiply in attack due to the lack of support, especially from Klay Thompson , his great squire. The shooting guard, son of former Laker Mychal Thompson and one of the best shooters in history, experienced one of the worst nights of his extraordinary career with 8 points and a 3/19 series from the field. Forward Andrew Wiggins was left at 6 points hampered by a rib problem and Jordan Poole ended his catastrophic playoff run with a tally of 7 points at 3/10.
¡¡AY DIOS MÍO, AUSTIN REAVES!! Cara de niño sin maldad… ¡y tremendo triple desde mitad de cancha y sobre la chicharra para cerrar 10 puntos arriba la primera mitad de un INOLVIDABLE Juego 6 de Lakers vs. Warriors!
📺 #ESPNenStarPlus pic.twitter.com/TJB3cVm4XX
— SportsCenter (@SC_ESPN) May 13, 2023
The Lakers, on the other hand, flew aboard their leader LeBron James and guard Austin Reaves (23 points) had the pleasure of signing several luxury plays. After dancing with the ball and taking a basket and a personal foul on Curry, Reaves followed suit with the Warriors star with a spectacular 3-pointer from half court at the halftime buzzer that put the Lakers ahead 56-46.
“It’s special to win against a team that is so established and is so good,” Reaves said. “I think the standings are just numbers. When you have guys like Bron and AD that have won championships, you always feel like you have an opportunity, especially with the roster that we have, with the talent that we have.”
Back from the locker room, Curry found himself too lonely to launch one of his legendary comebacks. The Lakers did not slow down and at the beginning of the fourth quarter they already dominated by more than 20 points. Four minutes from the end, Kerr threw in the towel and retired his starters . As the 20,000 fans at Crypto.com Arena celebrated their first Western finals berth since the 2020 ring, LeBron James was looking for a dejected Curry to melt into a long hug.
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