LOS ANGELES — The reigning champion Golden State’s freewheeling, 3-point-centric model of play modified the NBA and made Stephen Curry a family identify. But on Friday evening, the staff could not muster up one final overwhelming flurry of deep pictures, bowing out to the Los Angeles Lakers in six video games in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Lakers gained Game 6, 122-101.
It was one of the crucial extremely anticipated playoff matchups in years, pitting Curry in opposition to the Lakers star LeBron James for the primary time for the reason that 2018 NBA finals, when James was on the Cleveland Cavaliers. But the sequence in the end didn’t match the hype, with blowouts in Games 2, 3 and 5 after an exciting Lakers win to open the sequence.
In Game 6, Golden State appeared out of kinds proper from the beginning. The Lakers opened the sport on a 24-9 run. Golden State’s Klay Thompson missed 9 of his first 10 pictures; Curry missed 4 of his first 5. Then, simply earlier than halftime, a last-second desperation shot by Lakers guard Austin Reaves despatched Crypto.com Arena right into a frenzy and Los Angeles went into the break with a 10-point lead. In the third quarter, James led the push to lengthen the lead to 19 and the Lakers have been in agency management getting into the fourth quarter. Golden State by no means recovered.
This means the Golden State dynasty — 4 championships since 2015 behind Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green — could also be at an finish or not less than on its manner to a makeover. With one of the crucial costly rosters in the league, and a brand new collective bargaining settlement aimed toward curbing heavy spenders, Golden State is probably going to strive to convey down prices. It could possibly be a stark transition for the staff, provided that it went from a rudderless middle-of-the-road franchise to one of the crucial financially priceless ones with Curry on the helm over the previous decade.
But this season was a slog for Golden State. It completed at 44-38 for the Western Conference’s sixth seed and had one of many worst highway information in the league, at 11-30.
But there have been moments when the staff was ready to dig for classic performances.
Curry had one of many most interesting video games of his profession in the primary spherical of the playoffs. Golden State confronted the third-seeded Kings in Sacramento for a decisive Game 7. Curry scored 50 factors — probably the most ever in a Game 7 — and hit seven 3-pointers. It was a reminder of the magic that had made his staff so nice.
In the convention semifinals, in opposition to the seventh-seeded Lakers, Golden State had home-court benefit. But dropping Game 1 at house set the tone for the sequence. While Golden State regarded dominant in Games 2 and 5, each at house, Game 4 was a series-turner: Golden State made a number of uncharacteristically sloppy errors down the stretch, dropping the staff into a frightening 3-1 gap in the sequence.
It was in the end an excessive amount of for Golden State to overcome.
The sequence served as a reminder: It’s exhausting to keep on high for lengthy.
Green, a four-time All-Star, has a participant choice for subsequent yr and is predicted to check free company. He had one in every of his higher seasons this yr however turns 34 subsequent March, and Golden State might balk at providing him a most contract. Green has proven a penchant for impulsive conduct, like punching teammate Jordan Poole in coaching camp, and he had the second-most technical fouls in the league in the common season.
Thompson, a five-time All-Star, nonetheless has moments when he seems to be like the most effective shooters in NBA historical past, however at 33 years outdated and after two main accidents, he has noticeably slowed down on protection. His contract expires after subsequent season.
Golden State may even have to resolve what to do with its younger gamers, who the staff has tried to develop whereas chasing a championship — a path criticized for putting an excessive amount of of a load on the 35-year-old Curry. In explicit, Poole, a 23-year-old guard, struggled mightily in the playoffs, a lower than ideally suited situation provided that Golden State signed him to a four-year contract extension in October value up to $140 million. Other younger gamers, like Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, each 20, have been in and out of the lineup all season.
In addition, the contract of Bob Myers, the staff’s normal supervisor for the final decade, ends this yr. Carrying the dynasty into its subsequent stage might fall to a special architect.