when the los angeles lakers As the 2022-23 NBA season began 2-10, the idea of playing basketball in the month of May was a pipe dream.
Now the Lakers have a chance to be playing in June after defeating the warriors of the golden state in six games, sending Steph Curry and the defending NBA champions home on Friday night with a 122-101 victory.
LeBron James led the Lakers in scoring, adding 30 points and adding nine rebounds and nine assists.
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«It was fantastic to be able to play one of our more efficient gamesone of our best games of the series, and it started because of the defensive matchup we had,» James said.
«We defended at a high level, and when we do that, we can be extremely good. I thought we were locked in as close to 48 minutes as possible tonight.»
lakers big man antonio davis he was dominant on the boards, grabbing 20 rebounds on the night as the Lakers advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
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sophomore player austin reaveswho went undrafted out of college, scored 23 points, including a half-court buzzer to end the first half.
«It’s special to get that win to beat such an established and good team,» Reaves said. «I think the seeding stuff is 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, the talent that we have.»
The loss ends repeated hopes for the Warriors, who struggled all season to look like a team ready to go. another championship race.
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While Golden State finished the regular season as the sixth seed with a 44-38 record, the Warriors struggled greatly on the road, finishing the season with the third-worst record in the Western Conference.
«The best team won, and I can’t blame our players for the effort,» Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. «Because these guys are so competitive, it’s going to hurt. But that’s why we played: to compete against the best and see what we got. I didn’t get enough, but it wasn’t for lack of heart or effort.»
The Lakers will face the car denver nuggets in the Conference Finals, with Game 1 scheduled for Tuesday, May 16.
Associated Press contributed to this report.