With their final standing of 4-2 with game six ending with a rout of 101-122 in favor of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Lakers not only punched their way into the Conference Finals but also continued what has been a pretty improbable turnaround. Fans and experts alike even speculated that the LA Lakers, as great as they are, might not make it past the Golden State Warriors. Well, they were wrong.
As challenging as the hurdles in the first phase of the series, each bump in the road has made them the team that defeated the defending champions in this year’s playoffs. It will be interesting from here on out as the Conference Finals start, but that’s not what we’re here today. Instead, look at the key takeaways from the Lakers vs. Warrior series end.
The LA Lakers Looked Unstoppable with their Offense
One or two players didn’t carry the game; it was a huge team effort for the LA Lakers in Game 6. The Lakers shot 52% from the field and the other 50% from the three-point line. Because of this, the Warriors have had difficulty dealing with the pace and transition offense, which probably made them lose the game. LeBron James alone made 10 out of his 14 attempts and has made an excellent 71.4% shooting from the field.
Stephen Curry Looked Like a Lone Wolf
While it was a huge team effort for the LA Lakers, it seemed Stephen Curry was alone in the Golden State Warriors. Steph had a hard time during game six but nevertheless dropped 32 points, along with five assists and six rebounds. Although the numbers looked great, it wasn’t enough to save the Warriors from elimination.
If you’re looking for some numbers for the whole team, it seemed like they retained the pattern of having low success in the three-point range, with just 13-48 shots made successfully. This is quite a low performance, given that they were the defending champions.
LeBron Turned Back the Clock
With the series’ potential going into game 7, the Los Angeles Lakers had to shut down the Warriors in game six to win the series. To do so, the Lakers had to force LeBron James to look closer like the player he was in most of his career instead of the waxed and waned player in recent years.
He also exploited mismatches in the post, which made him too open for scoring. When help defense came, he facilitated and dished out to open teammates for easy buckets. With LeBron James and company having good NBA finals odds in several bookmakers like Fanduel, you can expect a good matchup between the Lakers and the Nuggets.
The Long Ball Failed the Warriors
Speaking of the Warriors, they were once known to always have the upper hand in belting high success rates from the three-point line. However, it seemingly changed in Game 6 due to their inability to score three-pointers. During game 6, the Warriors only made 6 out of 26 shots from beyond the arc, which is surprising due to their reputation.
The poor shooting from the Warriors from three was partly due to the Lakers’ game plan, especially with Jarred Vanderbilt and Dennis Schroder, who prevented Curry from getting clear shots in the three-point line, making him go deeper than usual under stress. Curry himself has seen this tactic for most of his career, but it seemed like the Lakers perfected it to the point that three-pointers weren’t viable for the Warriors.
Free throw Disparities Haunt Warriors
It’s also worth pointing out the huge disparity in free throws between the Warriors and the Lakers. In game 3 of the series(which the Lakers convincingly won), the Lakers shot 37 free throws compared to the Warrior’s 17. The reason for the disparity in the free throws might be because of how each team plays.
Naturally, a team like the Lakers, who play in the paint more, could get more calls than a team like the Warriors, who play from the outside. Free throw disparity isn’t a new thing for the Warriors, and the Lakers made sure to take advantage of that.
Anthony Davis Toughed It Out
People usually say Anthony Davis is not up for a good basketball fight. If anything, his defensive plays are something to behold. He wasn’t intimidated at all. In reality, he was intimidating, moving well on the switches, closing in to block shots, etc. This made the Warriors think twice before approaching, knowing that Anthony Davis was lurking around the rim.
How about the stats? He had 20 rebounds in the closeout game, the second time in the series. His average is 14.5, which are already great numbers in rebounding. And to think people are clowning Davis for going out of game 5 for the rest of the game with only seven minutes left after being hit in the side of his head. But regardless of that, he did all of his work in the 15 feet of the basket and at both ends. With good defensive play and endurance, he’ll join LeBron James in the Conference Finals and, hopefully, in the NBA Finals.
There are a lot more key takeaways that you can find in the Lakers vs. Warriors series, but it’s time to move on. We’re in the Conference Finals now, and it will be tough from here on out. Four teams, which are Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Boston Celtics. On the Western side, the matchup was the same two teams back in 2020. The Lakers were a bigger team back then, so the question here is will they win against the Nuggets again?
On the Eastern, the same team will be matching up like back in 2020, which are the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. With the NBA Finals looming overhead, the games heating up is an understatement, as whichever of these teams wins their series will be the ones playing head-to-head in the NBA finals.