Los Angeles Lakers Advance to Western Conference Finals

Los Angeles Lakers Advance to Western Conference Finals

The Los Angeles Lakers have advanced to the Western Conference finals after defeating the Golden State Warriors 122-101 in Game 6. The Lakers, who started the season eight games under .500, are now just four wins away from the NBA Finals.

Under first-year coach Darvin Ham, the Lakers started the season 2-10 and completely overhauled the roster midway through the year. They became just the fourth team in league history to reach the conference finals after being that many games below .500 since conferences were instated in the 1970-71 season.

LeBron James Leads Lakers to Victory

In Friday’s game, LeBron James had a vintage performance, scoring 30 points on 10-for-14 shooting, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. This was the first time in 18 straight playoff games that James scored over 30 points. James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only other player aged 38 or older to put up at least 30 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in a playoff game.

The Lakers’ strong performance was also due to a lineup shift by Ham, which saw Dennis Schroder replace Jarred Vanderbilt. Anthony Davis, who left Game 5 early after taking a shot to the head, was locked in from the start, scoring nine of his 17 points and 10 of his 20 rebounds in the opening frame.

The Lakers kept up the pressure in the third quarter, quickly pushing their cushion to 19 points. Schroder was ejected after a confrontation with Draymond Green, opening the door for more playing time for Lonnie Walker IV, who scored eight of his 13 points in the third.

Lakers Make History as No. 7 Seed

The Lakers are only the second No. 7 seed to reach the conference finals since seeding began in 1984, joining the 1987 Seattle SuperSonics. The Lakers are now 7-0 at home this postseason, counting the play-in tournament. They snapped the Warriors’ streak of 28 straight playoff series with at least one road win.

This will be James’ 12th conference finals appearance, with his teams winning 10 out of 11 so far. The Lakers’ win secured James’ 41st postseason series win of his 20-year career, breaking a tie with Derek Fisher for the most all-time. The Lakers will now go on the road to play the Western Conference’s top seed, the Denver Nuggets, in Game 1 on Tuesday.


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