When the Los Angeles Lakers began the 2022-23 NBA season 2-10, the considered enjoying basketball within the month of Could was a pipe dream.
Now, the Lakers have an opportunity to be enjoying in June after defeating the Golden State Warriors in six video games, sending Steph Curry and the defending NBA champions dwelling Friday evening with a 122-101 victory.
LeBron James led the Lakers in scoring, pouring in 30 factors whereas including 9 rebounds and 9 assists.
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“It was nice to have the ability to play certainly one of our best video games, certainly one of our greatest video games of the sequence, and it began due to the defensive matchup we had,” James mentioned.
“We defended at a excessive stage, and after we do this, we might be extraordinarily good. I assumed we had been locked in for as near 48 minutes as potential tonight.”
Lakers huge man Anthony Davis was dominant on the boards, grabbing 20 rebounds on the evening because the Lakers superior to the Western Convention Finals for the primary time for the reason that pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
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Second-year participant Austin Reaves, who went undrafted out of school, scored 23 factors, together with a half-court buzzer-beater to finish the primary half.
“It’s particular to get that win to beat a workforce that’s so established and so good,” Reaves mentioned. “I feel the seeding issues are simply numbers. When you may have guys like Bron and AD who’ve gained championships, you all the time really feel like you may have an opportunity, particularly with the roster that we have now, the expertise that we have now.”
The loss ends the repeat hopes for the Warriors, who struggled all season to appear like a workforce prepared for one other championship run.
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Whereas Golden State completed the common season because the sixth seed with a report of 44-38, the Warriors struggled mightily on the street, ending the season with the third-worst street report within the Western Convention.
“The higher workforce gained, and I can’t fault our gamers for the hassle,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr mentioned. “As a result of these guys are such rivals, it’s going to harm. However that’s why we play: To compete towards the most effective and see what we’ve bought. Didn’t fairly have sufficient, nevertheless it wasn’t for an absence of coronary heart or effort.”
The Lakers will face the one-seed Denver Nuggets within the Convention Finals, with Sport 1 scheduled for Tuesday, Could sixteenth.