Lakers, Blazers Bounced as LeBron Takes First Opening Round Loss
LeBron James will not be playing past the first round this season.
For the first time in his Hall of Fame worthy 18 year career, James watched his team fail to move on past the first round of the playoffs as the Lakers were sent home in six games by the Phoenix Suns.
Superstar Anthony Davis tried to play through an injury but only lasted five minutes before being removed for the remainder of the game. Meanwhile, the Suns proved to be far too much to handle behind the strong play of Chris Paul and yet another incredible performance from Devin Booker who is very quickly transforming into a superstar before our very eyes.
With a 45 point, 11 rebound performance, Booker made sure the series would not return to Phoenix for a Game 7, leaving the Lakers to wonder what if.
“The one thing that bothers me more than anything is we never really got an opportunity to see our full team at full strength,” said James, who finished the night with 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. “Either because of injury or COVID or something going on with our ballclub this year, we could never fully get into a rhythm. And never really kind of see the full potential of what we could be capable of.”
After an incredibly short offseason, the Lakers will now have extended time to re-evaluate their team, make the necessary changes and ideally, try to bring Anthony Davis back to full health by the start of next season. Meanwhile, the Suns are off to the next round and will start preparing for their next opponent.
Luckily for the Suns, they know exactly who to begin preparing for.
On Thursday night, the Denver Nuggets took care of business in Game 6, eliminating Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers with a 126-115 victory.
Once again, Nikola Jokic was on absolute fire, finishing the night with 36 points, eight boards and six assists, while Michael Porter Jr., who for a time early on looked incapable of missing a shot, scored 26 points on the night. Monte Morris added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench as the Nuggets were able to overcome yet another big performance from Lillard.
“I love our team,” head coach Mike Malone said following the win. “I love every player in that locker room, one through 17. We continue to find ways to win.”
For the third straight season, the Nuggets move on past the first round of the playoffs with the hopes of going a step further than last year despite being forced to play without Canadian star Jamal Murray.
As the Suns and Nuggets move on, there remains one final spot in the second round of the NBA playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks will look to capture that spot tonight as they hope to eliminate the Los Angeles Clippers on their home floor.