Beaten for the 4th time, by a score of 113-100, the Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the play-offs by the young Suns.
A first round elimination of the defending champions in the play-offs, nobody thought about it at the beginning of the season. Especially when the Lakers made a very good off-season by strengthening with Marc Gasol, Dennis Schröder and Monztrel Harell. But fate played a nasty trick on the 2020 NBA champions. Both superstars Lebron James and Anthony Davis were injured after the All Star break in February. The machine then went haywire and the rookies never added value. As a result, they dropped from 2nd to 7th place in the West.
Lebron James too alone!
Indeed, the two leaders came back just before the play-offs, but far from their form. If Lebron James played all the games of the series even with a sore ankle, Anthony Davis was much more frequent in the infirmary. And on Thursday night, he played only five minutes before leaving the floor and witnessing the elimination of the Lakers a few minutes later. By young talented Suns once again carried by a huge Devin Booker. The 24 year old guard, who is new to the play-offs, played the best game of his career to take the crown from King James (29 pts, 9 rbds, 7 assists). He scored 47 points with 8 jump shots and grabbed 11 rebounds. The veteran Chris Paul (12 assists), as usual, made his partners shine.
On the other side of the court, Lebron James tried to limit the damage and to make a comeback in the second half. But for once, LBJ probably wanted to do too much. He was omnipotent in the construction of the game and impaled himself several times on the opponent’s defense while a teammate was alone behind the three-point line. Whether it was a lack of confidence in his team or a real desire to take the game by himself, the King finally had to admit defeat. The 35-year-old James, orphaned by his partner Anthony Davis, was unable to stop the Suns’ collective play, orchestrated by the inusable Chris Paul.
Unfortunately for them, it was not to be as the Angelinos lost 113-100 and said goodbye to their dreams of a double. It was an elimination, far too premature for the defending champion, that bears the stamp of one man: Devin Booker.
© Credit photos : L’Equipe