The top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night with a 119-96 victory over James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and the Houston Rockets (four seed).
LeBron James led the way for the Lakers in the decisive Game Five with 29 points on 9-for-18 shooting (3-for-8 on threes, 8-for-10 from the line), including 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and one block in 31 minutes (+19 +/-).
Carolina’s own Danny Green was a solid contributor, connecting on four threes, along with four rebounds, two free throws, and an assist for 14 points and an absurd +35 +/- in 25 minutes of action.
The Lakers dropped Game One of the conference semifinals to the Rockets before reeling off four straight to take the series in five games. Interestingly, the Lakers did the exact same thing in the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers: lost Game One, then swept the next four to advance.
Up next for the Lakers is the Western Conference Finals against either the Los Angeles Clippers (two seed) or Denver Nuggets (three seed). Game Six of the Clippers / Nuggets series is Sunday afternoon (1:00 pm ET, ESPN) with the Clippers holding a 3-2 series lead. Game Seven would be Tuesday if needed.
As for the other side of the bracket, while the West is all chalk, the East is the polar opposite. The third-seeded Boston Celtics upset the defending champs and second-seeded Toronto Raptors in seven games. The Miami Heat (five seed), meanwhile, beat the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five. Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals will be Tuesday on ESPN, time TBD.
With the Eastern Conference top seeds losing, the prevailing thought is that the NBA Championship goes through the West. Assuming the Clippers hang on to defeat the Nuggets, it will be an all-Los Angeles battle for Western Conference and NBA supremacy. Don’t let the seeds fool you though, the Heat and Celtics are both playing great basketball. Anything could happen in the bubble.
Danny Green’s Western Conference Semifinals stats
- Game 1: 28:25 min, 4-12 FG, 2-7 3FG, 2 reb, 1 blk, 10 pts, -3 +/-
- Game 2: 30:48 min, 3-6 FG, 3-5 3FG, 2 reb, 3 ast, 9 pts, -10 +/-
- Game 3: 21:53 min, 1-5 FG, 0-3 3FG, 6 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 2 pts, +2 +/-
- Game 4: 25:41 min, 4-9 FG, 2-5 3FG, 4 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 10 pts, +10 +/-
- Game 5: 25:09 min, 4-6 FG, 4-6 3FG, 2-3 FT, 4 reb, 1 ast, 14 pts, +35 +/-
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