Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts after scoring during the second half in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Western Conference semifinal series against the Golden State Warriors Friday, May 12, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP News photo)
Relentless Lakers Eliminate Golden State In Semi-Finals 122-101
By Barbara Mason
The most important game that the Golden State Warriors (44-39) have played all season got underway Friday night as they took on the Los Angeles Lakers (44-39) in game six of the West semi-finals at crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
This was a win or go home scenario for Golden State. They had to contain Anthony Davis and LeBron James playing in front of a hostile crowd. It was the biggest challenge all season for the defending champs and they couldn’t finish the job as the Lakers stayed in front of them all game long for the 122-101 win.
The Warriors got a horrible start in the opening quarter. With 2:37 left in the first quarter the stats were shocking. The Warriors were shooting at just under 30% from the field to the Lakers 60%. The Lakers were shooting an incredible 75% from downtown and the Warriors turned in an anemic 16% going two of 12.
Despite the ugly start, the Warriors were within striking distance trailing 31-26 after the first 12 minutes. They had trailed by 17 points during the quarter. The Warriors had cut down on the fouls and drew a few as well. They seemed to have settled down going into the second quarter.
The Warriors were able to get within four points in the second quarter but they were struggling on every front; field shots, long shots, defense and shots in transition. They trailed at the half 56-46.
What the Warriors so desperately needed was a solid third quarter and there was no sign of that in the opening minutes. The Lakers had extended their lead 64-48 in the first two minutes of the quarter and the Warriors continued to come up empty offensively. The Lakers were on a mission and showed no signs of slowing down hanging onto a double digit lead for most of the quarter. After three quarters Los Angeles had a strangle hole on the lead 91-77.
Golden State just had an awful three quarters. Not a single player was having a banner day. Warrior guard Stephen Curry did have 26 points after three quarters but he had also missed a lot of shots. The Warriors had one quarter to show the world that they were the defending NBA champions.
It was an exercise in futility; the Warriors could not even come close to keeping up with Los Angeles. The Lakers show- cased an entirely new level of excellence and the Warriors were doomed from the start.
LeBron had a terrific game dominating and finishing with 30 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and Anthony Davis was brilliant with 20 rebounds and 17 points. The Lakers imposed their will all night long and the Warriors were helpless to do anything about it.
The Warriors just ran into a buzz saw in this Laker team. Curry finished with 32 points but he was the only starter in double digits. It was a disappointing way to finish the season.
The Lakers will go on to the Western Conference Finals taking on the Denver Nuggets. That series will get underway on Tuesday at 5:30 PM.