The Phoenix Suns completed the machado and eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers, the reigning NBA champions, from the playoffs. With a clear victory by 100-113 At the Staples Center in LA, the Arizona team dismounted LeBron James’ team with astonishing ease which made it clear that the Angelenos did not arrive at this end of the year with the same winning mentality of yesteryear.
Title hunger was not there, and the plague of injuries did the rest for Frank Vogel’s team, who crumbled like a house of cards with Anthony Davis’ injury, key moment of the tie that the Suns have won 4-2.
The untimely goodbye of the reigning champions marks a low point in the career of LeBron James, who is eliminated for the first time in the first round of a playoffs after having passed this phase in their 14 previous appearances.
Devin Booker served as master of ceremonies and silenced the Staples with a great game of 47 points and 11 rebounds (15-22 TC; 8-10 3P) that he himself left seen for sentence in the first half with 33 points.
Phoenix used a partial of 14-36 (+22) in the first quarter to live on rent and navigate to the Conference Semifinals against the Denver Nuggets of the most likely MVP of the competition, Nikola Jokic.
Davis forced the machine and played five minutes with an injured groin before requesting the change. The injury of the pivot and his disappearance in the meeting with a 7-14 on the scoreboard were fulminating for the aspirations of those in purple and gold
Marc Gasol witnessed the shipwreck from the starting quintet Angelino, where he relegated again and in the last game of the season to a Andre Drummond that he has not done his job well with LA since he “stole” the site from Barcelona. The Catalan pivot ended a year of ups and downs with 3 rebounds, 7 assists and a block in 18 minutes of play.
To rest, 41-62 said it all of the competitive attitude of the locals, shyly pushed by LeBron, which ended its season with 29 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks (11-26 TC; 3-10 3P).
The Los Angeles star tried to braid the comeback in the second half, but the Lakers they stayed far from the shore after rowing intermittently and getting close to ten points (84-94) with eight minutes to go thanks to a counter ended by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, author of 19 points.
The guard, despite his knee problems, was one of the few Angelenos players who stood up for the team. As if that were not enough, Alex Caruso retired injured after playing eight minutes in the match.
Dennis Schroder, called to have more prominence in this squad, was missing in the first half and bounced back with 20 points (6-14 TC) at the end of the crash, when the effort was already in vain. “This hobby deserves more”, he acknowledged after the elimination.
At the most critical moment for the Suns, another player touched, the veteran point guard Chris Paul, took the reins and led his young teammates to the final victory against his friend LeBron. The 36-year-old star finished with 8 points and 12 assists, numbers that do not explain its importance in the wardrobe of the Arizona franchise.
Jae crowder (18 points and 8 rebounds), with two triples in the decisive moments, cooled the game and left Desperate lebron, complaining to the referees and throwing in the towel walking down to defend one of the last possessions of the match.
It was the image of a hard and unexpected defeat of the current champions, who leave these playoffs very soon and open the ban on the remaining teams: the ring is looking for a new owner.
Now, the Suns still dream after achieving his first win in a playoff playoffs after more than a decade.