The G.S Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers were one home win away from sealing their fate in an unexpected collision course, maybe the last, between the NBA’s two best players.
All Stephen Curry and LeBron James needed to do was perform on their respective home courts.
Curry’s Warriors resurrected the Sacramento Kings, who defeated the champs on their court in a convincing victory. But the Lakers focused on the task and put the Grizzlies out of their misery with the biggest playoff win of the first round.
We are still one win away from a playoff series with historical ramifications or one that recalls events from over two decades ago.
Golden State and Sacramento will dance once again. The Lakers earned the right to wait on Sunday afternoon.
Here are five things to remember from Friday’s games.
The defending champion is not quite serious base on the fans
An easy way to tell if a reigning champion has lost its edge is to watch them blow series-ending opportunities.
For the Warriors, a champion’s elegance has been replaced with an almost condescending attitude, but if we’ve been watching them all season, it shouldn’t be a surprise.
The Warriors had everything working for them heading into Game 6: they felt they had taken the heart of the upstart Kings with a Game 5 triumph in Sacramento. They did not treat them with the necessary respect coming into Friday. It was clear from the start when the Kings took an early lead and never looked back.
It felt like the first two games when the Kings ran and ran and ran some more. De’Aaron Fox’s injury slowed him down; the damaged finger on his shooting hand didn’t stop him from going anywhere he wanted, whenever he wanted.
He continued pushing the pace, whether in the set offense or after baskets or turnovers, and that kept the Warriors on their toes. If you didn’t know any better, the Warriors’ attitude to the game made it easier to tell whether the club was the playoff-tested group vs the rookies.
Curry Struggles in Game 5 With Low Shooting Percentage and High Turnovers
Curry seemed calm, as he did for long minutes in Game 5, but his teammates couldn’t save him. Instead, they followed in his footsteps. Jordan Poole has been given a lot of leeway in various areas this season. Still, he signed a relatively big contract in the preseason, so he should be held accountable for his role in the Warriors’ success. Instead, he pretended to be a Harlem Globetrotter for most of the night, something his team could not afford.
Good and thought-provoking moves were countered by blunders, often in quick succession. He can test defenses in ways that his teammates cannot, but his shot selection frequently results in fast-break opportunities for the Kings, something they cannot be given.
Curry went 2 for 11 and had as many turnovers (five) as assists (9 of 21). Winning in Sacramento again may be too much to ask of a defending champion, and considering how they performed on Friday, one wonders whether it will even be close.
Be sure to follow our coverage for all the latest news, blogs, and tips from the world of NBA basketball and other sports.