The Golden State Warriors have been the defining team of the NBA over much of the last decade as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green led them to four NBA Championships and six NBA Finals appearances over the last eight years. But with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Warriors in six games in the Western Conference Semifinals, and put an end to a couple very impressive streaks in doing so.
The Lakers became the first Western Conference team to defeat the Warriors since Steve Kerr took over as head coach ahead of the 2014-15 season. The Warriors had lost just two playoff series since then, both in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
Additionally, in this same timeframe, the Warriors had won a road game in all 25 playoff series they played in, another streak that was snapped by the Lakers, who have yet to lose at home in this postseason.
The matchup between the Warriors and Lakers was a riveting one pairing the most successful franchise in NBA history in the Lakers with the best one of recent history in the Warriors. It also was the latest playoff meeting between two of the best players ever in LeBron and Curry, continuing their longstanding rivalry.
Ultimately, James and Davis were able to propel the Lakers to victory with the latter being absolutely dominant defensively all series long while the former exploded for 30 points in the clinching Game 6. But the difference in this series was the Lakers’ role players stepping up.
Four other Lakers averaged double-figures in the series as D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Dennis Schroder and Lonnie Walker IV all had huge games at different points to lift the Lakers when they needed it most.
Curry was outstanding for the Warriors and had moments of pure brilliance, but was unable to get consistent help from his supporting cast as Klay Thompson shot just 34.3% from the field for the series and the rest of the team simply couldn’t muster enough scoring against the stifling Lakers defense.
Austin Reaves calls it ‘special’ for Lakers to defeat Warriors and advance to Western Conference Finals
Taking out the Warriors was no easy feat and it took a full team effort from the Lakers to do so. One thing that helped in the final couple games was Austin Reaves getting back into form and the Lakers guard understood how special it was to take out this Warriors team.
“Ever since I think 2015, they’ve been just battling it out. Bron, Steph and then their whole core, so it’s special to get that win and to beat a team that’s so established, so good that they’ve won four rings in the past 10 years or whatever. It’s just great. Also, I have my brother here he flew in from Germany so it was just a special moment for me.”
Reaves went on to speak about how special this team is and how everyone has really come together and celebrate support each other. And they will look to continue this run against the Denver Nuggets.
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