LOS ANGELES – Reigning champions Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the postseason and with it, the possibility of repeating the title for the Angelenos disappeared.
On Thursday night at the Staples Center, the Lakers suffered a 113-100 loss in Game 6 to the Phoenix Suns, which advanced to the next round by winning four games to two.
“I was just telling Wesley Matthews now in the locker room that we never got to see our full team, the true potential of what this team was capable of due to injuries, COVID or whatnot. In the end all my recognition and respect for this team that sought to fight against adversity. Likewise, all credit to Suns and what Monty Williams and Devin Booker have done, ”LeBron James said after the elimination.
Anthony Davis tried very hard to recover tonight, after a groin injury suffered in Game 4, but failed. Davis jumped onto the floor in the starting lineup, but after five minutes he had to leave. Davis’ loss was very difficult for the purple and gold to make up for.
“(Davis) He is a warrior, he tried to go out and play, we knew it would be difficult for him to move. He received all the treatments to loosen the tension, we hoped that the adrenaline of the game would also help a little, but he was not moving at all well in the game to the point that he could not continue, “said Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
Lakers came out with intensity and desperation in the game, knowing it was an elimination game for them. However, they simply could not contain Devin Booker, who completed 47 units.
“I love everything about Devin Booker, I have had many conversations with him in the past and he continues to take that leap of quality to improve. I’ve seen how he’s absorbed the advice and he’s showing great maturity at his young age to be dominant because he wants to be successful in this league, ”said LeBron, who gave his autographed jersey to Booker post-match.
After the Bubble in Orlando where the Lakers won the championship, they had very little rest time prior to the start of this season in December. Without a doubt, the workload took its toll on the Angelenos who suffered multiple injuries throughout the season that prevented them from finding rhythm and cohesion as a team.
“The management hired players in free agency, we tried to stay competitive, navigate with injuries as staff, but the injuries were too much. Not having LeBron and Davis for long periods this season was very difficult to establish cohesion against a team like the Suns. This match with us being one hundred percent, I think it could easily be a Final of Conference match, I would have liked to see that, ”said Vogel.
LeBron James was also not one hundred percent physically after the ankle injury. Still, he found a way to fight the group, but it wasn’t enough. This game ended with 29 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
“This break will be good for me now, to rest, to recover, to recover my ankle one hundred percent to how it was before that Atlanta game. Because the truth kept bothering me until now, he was never 100, “said LeBron, who was eliminated in a first round of the postseason for the first time in his 15 career playoff appearances.
“Every season is different, beyond the records, I hope we all return to being physically well.”
Lakers will have a vacation period and the board will analyze who will remain on the squad to accompany LeBron and Davis.
“Rob (Pelinka) has done a great job putting this team together over the past few years and it will continue to do so. I trust him, he always asks my opinion, just like AD, but we want to keep improving. The most important thing right now is to get Davis back physically, that is what matters most to us and that puts us in a good position to seek to be successful in the following season, “concluded LeBron.