The seventh-seeded Lakers will face Nikola Jokic and the top-seeded Nuggets in the Western Conference finals starting Tuesday night in Denver.
Anthony Davis had 17 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers, who never trailed in a closeout victory that punctuated their increasingly incredible late-season surge.
Davis said he attributes the Lakers’ late-season roll to “togetherness. We want to shock the world.”
Austin Reaves scored 23 points, highlighted by a 54-footer from midcourt at the halftime buzzer for the Lakers. They improved to 7-0 at home since the regular season ended with three wins in seven days over the Warriors. Los Angeles also snapped Golden State’s streak of 28 playoff series with at least one road victory – an NBA-record run encompassing Stephen Curry’s entire career.
James, Davis and the Lakers are the first team since 2014 to eliminate Curry’s Warriors from the playoffs before the NBA Finals. Golden State has played in six of the last eight NBA Finals, missing the playoffs entirely in the other two seasons.
Curry scored 32 points while missing 10 of his 14 3-point attempts for the sixth-seeded Warriors, whose pursuit of their fifth championship in nine seasons ended with three straight road losses and an inept offensive performance by Curry’s teammates in Game 6, including a 3-of-19 effort by Klay Thompson, who missed 10 of his 12 three-point attempts..
Heat 96 Knicks 92
Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Bam Adebayo added 23 and Miami beat New York in Game 6 to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the 10th time overall and the third time in the last four years.
Miami became the second No. 8 seed in NBA history to make the conference finals – joining the Knicks, who pulled it off in 1999. The Heat will visit Boston or Philadelphia in Game 1 on Wednesday. The Celtics and 76ers play Game 7 of their series tonight.
Jalen Brunson was spectacular for New York, scoring 41 points on 14-for-22 shooting. But his teammates combined for only 51 points – Julius Randle had 15 and RJ Barrett 11 on 1-for-10 shooting. Josh Hart also had 11 points for the Knicks.