As the Golden State Warriors forced Game 6 to extend their grand Conference Semifinals duel, the Los Angeles Lakers may have encountered a familiar closeout scenario heading to Friday.
The Lakers, seventh-seed of the West, notably overwhelmed the top-two Memphis Grizzlies in the last first-round of this year’s postseason. Against the Grizz, they also posted a 3-1 series edge, but were dragged by the young, feisty Ja Morant-led team until Game 6, which ultimately sealed their series victory.
The path they had against Memphis could be noted as identical with what they are currently have against Golden State, but LeBron James insisted that they are going toe-to-toe against a much different opponent – a title-defending Warriors troop that is battle-tested and ready to ravage just to deliver a decisive seventh-game basketball showdown.
“Every moment has its own challenge and its own game and its own opportunity to see what you’re made of. We can’t base last series to this series. This series is different, the opponent is different, the challenges is different,” James said in postgame of L.A.’s 121-106 Wednesday loss.
“So Friday, it was another opportunity for us to see where we are and see what we’re made of and go out there with the grit and fight we’ve had since we came together after the All-Star break – very resilient team and we responded well to adversity. We look forward to that, to get an opportunity to play again on Friday.”
With their backs against the wall, the Warriors came out with an expected, high-powered fight in the Game 5 victory.
Stephen Curry led the way with his 27 points and eight dimes, which was further supported by 25 markers and seven boards from Andrew Wiggins. Meanwhile, Draymond Green channelled his old offensively capable self and had a robust all-around game with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go with 10 boards, four assists and two steals.
Klay Thompson, Gary Payton II, and Jordan Poole also managed to crack above ten markers or higher and contributed to the Dubs’ collectively efficient success of shooting 51.1 percent from the field.
Regardless of Anthony Davis’ status after absorbing a nasty head injury, the Lakers got a one, massive test that needs to be answered upon capitalizing all of the series’ momentum upon going up 3-1 last Monday.
As they are holding an unblemished 5-0 home court record this playoffs, James looks forward to the energy of the Crypto.com crowd and their chances in Game 6 to finally advance and book a seat to the Western Conference Finals for the second time in four years.
“We didn’t handle our business tonight so I look forward to see our fans for another game in the second round,” James said. “Those six games [against Memphis] are out of the window, it’s over and done with so our job is to try to be one and on Friday and look forward to that opportunity.”