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Lakers dethrone Warriors, on their way to Western Conference finals

With their 122-101 rout over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6, the Lakers not only punched their ticket to the Western Conference Finals, but continue what has been an improbable turnaround.
As frustrating as the bumps in the road earlier in the season were in real time, each hurdle has played a role in molding the team who just knocked out the defending champions.
For nearly a decade, the Golden State Warriors have made winning in the playoffs look so routine that their rare defeats have lingered in the collective basketball consciousness as stop-the-presses spectacles.
Golden State famously suffered the worst Finals collapse of all time in 2016, then lost Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to ghastly season-ending injuries in the 2019 Finals.
Otherwise, Coach Steve Kerr’s 99 career playoff wins and 23 series victories have been an endless, joyous blur of three-pointers and champagne corks.
But LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers did something last Friday that hadn’t been done before on Kerr’s nine-year watch: They knocked the Warriors out of the playoffs in quiet and methodical fashion, dethroning the defending champions without needing any outrageous plot twists.
This glitzy matchup of Pacific Division powers, which drew record television ratings, saw no suspensions, series-altering injuries or bulletin board material, aside from Kerr briefly chiding the Lakers for flopping. Los Angeles took control of the series with a Game 1 victory and survived a pivotal Game 4 to set up a resounding 122-101 Game 6 closeout win at Arena, which concluded Golden State’s first series loss to a Western Conference opponent since 2014.

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