LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and the Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors with a 122-101 victory Friday night in Game 6 of the second-round series.
The seventh-seeded Lakers will face Nikola Jokic and the top-seeded Nuggets in the Western Conference finals starting Tuesday night in Denver.
Anthony Davis had 17 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers, who never trailed in a closeout victory that punctuated their increasingly incredible late-season surge.
Austin Reaves scored 23 points, highlighted by a 54-footer from midcourt at the halftime buzzer for the Lakers. They improved to 7-0 at home since the regular season ended with three wins in seven days over the Warriors. Los Angeles also snapped Golden State’s streak of 28 playoff series with at least one road victory – an NBA-record run encompassing Stephen Curry’s entire career.
James, Davis and the Lakers are the first team since 2014 to eliminate Curry’s Warriors from the playoffs before the NBA Finals. Golden State has played in six of the last eight NBA Finals, missing the playoffs entirely in the other two seasons.
Curry scored 32 points while missing 10 of his 14 3-point attempts for the sixth-seeded Warriors, whose pursuit of their fifth championship in nine seasons ended with three straight road losses and an inept offensive performance by Curry’s teammates in Game 6, including a 3-of-19 effort by Klay Thompson, who missed 10 of his 12 3-point attempts.
The Splash Brothers were far too dry when it mattered against the Lakers: Thompson went 10 for 36 on 3-pointers in the series’ final four games, while Curry was 14 for 49.