Once it was locked in that the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors would face off in the Western Conference Semifinals, basketball fans everywhere were eager to see what would happen in this highly anticipated matchup.
Not only was it a meeting of two of the most successful franchises in NBA history, but also two of the best players of all-time in LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Additionally, LeBron and the Warriors have a long history themselves, having faced off in the NBA Finals four consecutive times when James was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So many things added up to surround this series with a lot of anticipation and the numbers bore out just how big of a series this was to the fans. The NBA announced that the Lakers-Warriors series was the most watched Conference Semifinals in nearly 30 years:
The Los Angeles Lakers-Golden State Warriors series averaged 7.8M viewers across ABC, ESPN and TNT, making it the most watched Conference Semifinals series in 27 years. pic.twitter.com/pJxc2dSp60
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 15, 2023
This series capturing so many views shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the popularity of these teams and players. James and Curry had the two highest selling jerseys in the NBA and the Lakers and Warriors led the league in merchandise sales as well. Quite simply, these are the two premier franchises right now in the NBA.
Additionally, this was the first time in around three decades that the Lakers and Warriors have met in the postseason.
Everything simply came together perfectly and the series itself had some very close, highly entertaining contests that had eyes glued to the screen. But in the end, it was the Lakers coming out on top and sending home the defending champion Warriors in six games.
Lakers snap two longstanding Warriors playoff streaks with series victory
With that victory, the Lakers now advance to the Conference Finals and are just four wins away from a chance to hoist their 18th championship banner. But the Lakers also put an end to a pair of extremely impressive streaks from the Golden State Warriors.
Since Steve Kerr took over as head coach of the Warriors in the 2014-15 season, the Warriors had never lost a playoff series to the Western Conference team, with their only two series losses coming in the NBA Finals. The Warriors had also won a road game in every playoff series they were in under Kerr, until failing to take a victory inside Crypto.com Arena against these Lakers.
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