Not only did the Lakers preserve their undefeated streak at home this postseason with their Game 6 win, but this is the first time Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Steph Curry were available for each game in a series and failed to win since the 2014 playoffs.
If Anthony Davis’ head injury was hindering him heading into the game, he hid it very well. His defensive presence near the rim forced the Warriors to double-guess shots near the basket. And on the other end, his 17 points and 20 rebounds on the night proved massive.
After a subdued offensive approach in Game 5, the uptick in aggression from LeBron James was evident from the very first possession when he converted on an alley opp and then on a post-up. He scored nine of his 30 points in the opening quarter and ended the night with nine boards, passing Shaq on the all-time postseason rebounds list.
With his 7th board tonight, LeBron passed Shaq for 4th on the NBA’s all-time postseason rebounds list:— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 13, 2023
3. Tim Duncan – 2,859
4. LeBron James – 2,509
5. Shaquille O’Neal – 2,508
LeBron's also 1st in scoring, 1st in steals, and 2nd in assists (Magic).
The Lakers jumped out to an early lead behind their rim-heavy attack and a cold shooting start from the Warriors. Klay Thompson in particular was nowhere to be found as he went 1-8 from the field in the first quarter and finished just 3-19 on the night.
However as they’ve done so many times, the Warriors run was bound to happen. After a late burst of points by Steph Curry the Lakers’ once 17-point lead shrunk to just five heading into the second quarter.
Donte DiVincenzo was huge for the Warriors in the first half. He scored 16 points off the bench and his defense on and off ball proved to be invaluable as Golden State got to within striking distance during the opening minutes of the second.
Fortunately, Austin Reaves responded with five consecutive points, including a nice crossover on Curry to put the lead back up to double digits. Both teams exchanged baskets the rest of the half as the Lakers maintained their ten-point lead thanks to a half-court heave from Reaves.
Austin Reaves knocks down the tough and-one— NBA (@NBA) May 13, 2023
Lakers lead Game 6 on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/EtF8OB2rf7
The third quarter saw more strong guard play from the Lakers’ backcourt as Reaves and Russell drilled a pair of threes early on to keep their lead intact. Then James turned on the burners, as he stormed toward the basket for layup after layup, and suddenly, the Lakers’ lead was back up to 17.
Things were going well for the home team with the only blemish being Schröder getting his second technical of the night in yet another altercation with Draymond Green ending his night early.
LeBron extends the Laker lead to 17 ‼️— NBA (@NBA) May 13, 2023
: ESPN | Game 6 | LAL leads 3-2 pic.twitter.com/iYOrJGzDRu
Despite the loss of Schröder, who was productive in his start, the Lakers continued to get contributions across the roster as Lonnie Walker IV came in and made key shots to cool down any Warriors run.
The Lakers never took their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter as James continued his onslaught at the rim to finally put a nail in the Warriors’ season.
This was a historic series victory. Not only did the Lakers knock out the defending champions, but they become just the second seven-seed to make it to the Western Conference Finals.
Now the Lakers have to refocus and prepare for their next opponent, the top-seeded Denver Nuggets in a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Finals matchup. Confidence has to be mile-high as the Lakers are now just eight wins away from banner number 18.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.