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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers series recap

The Lakers will move onto the Western Conference Finals after winning second-round series 4-2 

 

By ELOISE ENGS — sports@theaggie.org

 

Starting on May 2, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors began the second-round series of the NBA Playoffs, after the Lakers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies and the Warriors upset the Sacramento Kings in the first round.

This series garnered a lot of attention due to the history between LeBron James and the Warriors. From 2015 to 2018, LeBron — who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers at the time — faced the Warriors in four straight finals, losing three of four. However, now in a Lakers uniform, LeBron James got the opportunity to exact revenge in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

 

Game One

The Lakers started the series strong with a win at the Chase Center in San Francisco, with a score of 117-112. Standouts for the Warriors in this game include Stephen Curry, who totaled 27 points and six rebounds, and Klay Thompson, who closely followed with 25 points and three rebounds. Jordan Poole also showed up in this game and tallied 21 points. Poole has not been performing well recently, but in this game, he contributed.

The Lakers’ stars shined bright; LeBron hit 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Anthony Davis had 30 points and a team-high of 23 rebounds. Behind them, D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schröderboth poured in 19 points each.

With 9.7 seconds left in the game and a score of 115-112, the Warriors had a chance to tie the score with a quick three-point shot. The Lakers planned to double-team Curry, who is the Warriors’ most dangerous three-point player. The ball ended up in Poole’s hands, who shot a deep three-pointer that missed. At that point, the game was over as the Lakers gained control of the series. 

 

Game Two

The Warriors brought the thunder in game two, securing a 127-100 point win in San Francisco. Golden State benefited from the “Splash Brothers” — Thompson and Curry —  tremendously in this game, as Thompson put up 30 points, and Curry put up 20 points and had a team high of 12 assists. The Warriors held onto momentum more throughout this game, especially in the back half, and the Lakers could not defend the Warriors’ quick shooters. Draymond Green’s defensive performance in this game was another reason why the Warriors dominated the Lakers. In addition to Green’s exceptional defense, he flirted with a triple-double, 11 points along with 11 rebounds and nine assists.

The Lakers’ Rui Hachimura played well during this game, totaling 21 points, which was close behind James, who had 23 points and seven rebounds. At the end of the game, the Lakers ended up putting in their deep bench because the Warriors were beating them by more than 20 points midway through the fourth quarter. 

After the Lakers’ strong defensive performance in game one, the Warriors responded by coming back stronger with their quick shooters and momentum play. The Lakers could not keep up with the Warriors this time around. 

Game Three

So far, the series has been back and forth, and in game three, this continued. The Lakers defeated Golden State, 127-97, at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. 

James had eight rebounds, eight assists and 21 points, and Russell also contributed 21 points. But the difference in the game was Anthony Davis. The Lakers’ Davis was back to his normal self, as he totaled 25 points and 13 rebounds. In game two, he was shut out, but in game three, he came out strong on both sides of the court.

Curry scored less than usual with 23 points, and behind him, Andrew Wiggins totaled 16 points and got a team high of nine rebounds. The Warriors did not shoot well from the free-throw line, as the Lakers outscored them 37-17 from the line. Game four would take place in Los Angeles with the home team up, 2-1, in the series. 

 

Game Four

Things did not look promising for the Warriors, who were 11-30 overall on the road this season and in desperate need of a win in Los Angeles to keep their hopes alive. However, the Lakers kept a foot on the gas and rode game three’s momentum into game four, in which they defeated the Warriors by three points, 104-101. The Warriors fought hard until the end, despite Curry being the only player who was productive with a triple double, adding 31 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists. Poole did not contribute a single point this game but managed to put up three rebounds. Gary Payton II finally showed up in this game with 17 points, and his performance made a difference in the end result.

Once again, Davis did not disappoint, putting up 23 points and 15 rebounds. James had a great game as well, totaling 27 points and nine rebounds. Austin Reaves woke up for the first time in this series and had 21 points, which definitely made a difference in the result of the game.

With the Lakers ahead 3-1, the Warriors’ chances of advancing to the Western Conference Finals seemed unrealistic. However, they did have a good chance at winning game five in San Francisco, where they held a 33-8 regular season record. 

 

Game Five

The Warriors secured a crucial win and a sense of relief with a score of 121-106 in game five. Green brought the energy defensively to complement Curry’s offensive game. Curry’s three-point game was not quite there during this series, but a tough three-pointer to end the second quarter kept the Warriors’ momentum alive throughout the game. With their win, the series headed back to Los Angeles.

 

Game Six

The Lakers had their A-game on full display as they secured their Western Conference Finals ticket; the final score was 122-101. Besides Curry, who had 32 points, the Warriors could not get their shots up in this game. Looney had a team high of 18 rebounds, but could not compete with Davis’s 20 rebounds and 17 points.

The Lakers came out strong both offensively and defensively. The Warriors were playing catch-up for most of the game, especially during the second half, when the L.A. team took off offensively with momentum.

Now, the Lakers move onto the western conference finals against the Denver Nuggets starting on Tuesday, May 16.

 

Recap

Both the Warriors and the Lakers have their strengths and weaknesses. The Lakers have a previously untapped advantage with Davis on their team. When he was active and aggressive on both sides of the court, the Warriors had a tough time responding. Looney, who is not very quick, does not have the same ability that Davis does. 

Earlier in the season, the Lakers struggled on the defensive end, but that has not been an issue in the postseason. They found a way to cover the main shooters for the Warriors, and that has gotten to their players. 

Another thing the Lakers have taken advantage of is Curry’s shooting game. After his 50-point game to end the first round of the playoffs against the Sacramento Kings, he has gone dark with that ambition in the second round. His deep threes were off and he was relying more on paint play throughout this series.

The main showstoppers for the Warriors are fairly consistent, but where are the other players? Wiggins did not really show up until game three and Poole, who is supposed to be a strong bench player, appeared weaker than in the regular season. Meanwhile, the Lakers benefitted from the Warriors’ missed passes and Davis’s rebounding ability. 

 

Written by: Eloise Engs — sports@theaggie.org