3 reasons Lakers will finish off Warriors to reach Western Conference Finals

One. Win. Away. A few months ago, you’d be laughed out of the building for saying that the Los Angeles Lakers will be in the Western Conference Finals. Yet, here we are. LA is on the verge of eliminating the Golden State Warriors in five games, advancing to the WCF in the process.

The Lakers now have three golden chances to finish off the Warriors in the playoffs. Let’s look at the reasons why they are going to finish the job and make it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since their championship run.

Anthony Davis

Any discussion about the Lakers’ playoff run in 2023 starts and revolves around Anthony Davis. Despite being regularly memed on Twitter, everyone knew that AD can be a dominant force. We saw a glimpse of his greatness in 2020, when he helped lead LA to a championship. However, injuries to Davis through the last two years have severely hampered his play. Little by little, fans forgot how impactful he can be.

The 2023 playoffs served as a reminder to NBA fans of why Anthony Davis is a damn good basketball player. In the first round, Davis completely terrorized the young Grizzlies squad on defense, tallying 26 blocks. So far, against the Warriors, AD is doing the same thing: he’s up to 11 blocks in four games… and that’s with him not getting any in Game 4.

The Warriors already aren’t a team that likes to attack the rim. With Davis protecting the paint, Golden State has been deathly afraid to touch the rim. They have tried different tactics to try and pull AD away from the paint. Even when he’s out of the paint, though, the Lakers star is able to make an impact on defense. He had two clutch stops against Stephen Curry during crunch time to seal the win.

Notice that we’ve only talked about AD’s defense. In addition to his rim protection, AD is also providing a healthy dose of scoring, rebounding, and literally everything else (21 PPG, 14 RPG, and 1.5 SPG). If the Lakers finish off the Warriors, it will be because of another monster AD game.

Lakers have a better supporting cast

One of the biggest fixes that the Lakers made during the season is addressing their supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Before the trade deadline, they relied a bit too heavily on the duo to win games. During the trade deadline, though, LA wheeled and dealt their way to having a much more competent roster around their star duo.

The depth of the Lakers is in full display during their series against the Warriors. LeBron and AD have been their usual selves (LeBron’s a little bit off, but an 80% LeBron is better than many players in the league). It’s the supporting cast that has helped LA get over the pesky Dubs.

Dennis Schroder has fully embraced the role of being a bench guard (and occasional instigator) to support LeBron and the starting five when needed. Austin Reaves is emerging as a capable secondary ball-handler who can play with Bron on and off the court. Jarred Vanderbilt’s versatility on defense makes up for his non-shooting. And then, out of nowhere, the Lakers got a big helping hand from Lonnie Walker IV in Games 3 and 4. After accruing DNPs over the last two games, the former Spurs guard turned in a masterpiece over the last two games.

In contrast, the Warriors’ supporting cast has been largely invisible. Klay Thompson went for 30 in Game 2, but he’s been otherwise silent. Jordan Poole is a complete non-factor, with his minutes dwindling. The same goes for Kevon Looney.

Warriors are sacrificing too much

The Lakers are one win away from the Conference Finals. Because they have a 3-1 lead, they have three chances to finish off the Warriors. That alone is a good reason for them to finish off the Warriors.

If we look a bit deeper, though, we can see exactly why the Lakers are bound to knock out the Warriors in the playoffs. So far, it’s the Lakers that have dictated the pace in the series. Their Game 1 shellacking of the Dubs forced Steve Kerr to make adjustments for their lone Game 2 win, sitting Kevon Looney for Jamychal Green. When the Lakers adjusted accordingly in Game 3, Golden State added another wrinkle to their offense.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, they’re quickly running out of options to throw at the Lakers. They’ve already benched two of their best players in Poole and Looney. Their game plan in Game 4 was to attack Anthony Davis in the pick-and-roll. It was successful, but it’s not guaranteed to work again in Game 5. Head coach Darvin Ham has done a masterful job adjusting to the wrinkles Steve Kerr throws at him.

It might take one, it might take three. Inevitably, the Warriors are going to fall to the Lakers, and the latter will make their return to the WCF (perhaps against a familiar opponent?)

The post 3 reasons Lakers will finish off Warriors to reach Western Conference Finals appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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