American basketball rarely experiences this kind of situation. It’s not every day that the reigning NBA champion does not make it through the first round of the playoffs, these final stages of the competition, which first take place in each of the two conferences (west and east). ) around which the championship is organized. This had already happened four times in the history of the North American league. Thursday, June 3, it is the Lakers who came to add their name to those of San Antonio (2000, 2015), Miami (2007) and Dallas (2012).
The Los Angeles franchise, led by LeBron James, but orphaned by injured Anthony Davis, was beaten at home (100-113) in Game 6 by the Phoenix Suns, who will face Denver, the Portland scorer, in the half. final of the western conference. “It was difficult until the end. Personally, I have worked all my life for this moment, so it was not the moment to deprive myself of it ”, commented Phoenix Suns player Devin Booker, author of 47 points.
The blow is hard for LeBron James, who had never before known elimination in the first round of a final phase. The last time he was dismissed by a team from his own conference was in 2010, in the eastern semifinals, lost to Cleveland against Boston.
This elimination had also led him to leave Ohio to rebound in Miami, with two titles at stake. Thursday night’s underperformance is unlikely to be followed by the same effects, as LeBron James is linked with the Lakers until 2023.