Steve Kerr and the core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were known to make history, and the loss of Golden State Friday night marked a new chapter in Warriors history.
The Warriors lost 122-101 Game 6 in the semifinals of the Western Conference against the Los Angeles Lakers in Crypto.com Arena first scored in the Kerr era, Golden State lost a series of playoffs before the NBA Finals.
Before losing 4-2 to the Lakers, the Warriors had won 19 straight playoffs against opponents of the Western Conference.
The only time the Warriors lost a playoff series during their dynastic run was in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers and 2019 Toronto Raptors led by Kawhi Leonard.
In addition, Friday’s loss to the Lakers marked the first time Kerr and the Warriors’ Grand Three failed to win a road game in a playoff series. Golden State had played in 28 live playoff series before the line was fired against Los Angeles.
The fights came from every player the warriors usually rely on to hit long-range teams. Stephen Curry didn’t look like Stephen Curry, but he shot an inefficient 11-of-28 at 32 points. Klay Thompson didn’t look like the old Klay Thompson with a 3-in-19 and 8-point internship.
And Jordan Poole, he disappeared again. The star who passed the playoffs last year finished a miserable series with 7 points in a 3 out of 10 series.
The Lakers never followed closely on Friday, jumping out to lead two figures in the middle of the first half. The Warriors held the lead in a single-digit lead for most of the second half, but a half-yard pull by Austin Revaves pushed the Lakers to the lead by up to 10 when the whistle sounded. Reaves finished the game with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 rebounds.
The consecutive defeats ended a turbulent season for the Warriors, starting with a strange feud between Poole and Draymond Green.
For years, the Warriors’ plan was to let a new wave of young players – led by Poole, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuringa and more – keep the team among NBA’s elite players, but they need Curry and Co. Just to make the playoffs. Their bench is notorious for being weak throughout the season, and their old man cannot cover the holes they once had.
Golden State finished the regular season 44-38, its sixth in the West and needed seven games to survive the Sacramento Kings in the first round. They were so unlucky when they showed the same form in the next round.
Although defeating the Warriors is often the NBA version to kill the dragon, the Lakers’ next opponent will likely represent a tougher challenge.
The Nuggets, the top seed in the Western world, have performed well throughout the season, starting with MVP runner-up Nikola Jockeyć. Instead of holding the paint with Green and Kevon Looney, Davis would be tasked with handling the best big man of all time, who played with the best supporting players in his career.
On the bright side, the Lakers won 2–2 against the Nuggets this season, and one loss came with James and Davis both sidelined due to injuries. The Nuggets are clearly elite, but the Lakers star pair and post-trade reinforcements gave them a ceiling as high as anyone at this point.
Game 1 of the Western Conference finals is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Denver (ESPN).