2 biggest Warriors culprits to blame for early exit after falling to Lakers

The Golden State Warriors were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of their 2023 NBA Playoff series. It was a severely disappointing finish to the Warriors’ playoff run. Not only did Golden State’s championship defense end in the second round, but the Lakers blew the Warriors out 122-101 in a one-sided contest.

Stephen Curry averaged 26.7 points, 7.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game in the six-game series. The Warriors’ best player was unable to beat the Lakers’ superstar duo by himself. Anthony Davis was a monster on defense, preventing Golden State from getting anything going at the rim. LeBron James averaged 24.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. At 38 years old, James was the best player on the floor in the final game of the Warriors-Lakers series.

The Lakers got more from their top two players than the Warriors did in the playoff series. Los Angeles’ role players also stepped up in a way that Golden State’s supporting cast was unable to do.

The Lakers shot 50% from 3-point range in the Game 6 clincher. Golden State couldn’t buy a bucket for much of the contest, going 13-of-48 from behind the arc. The Warriors lost all three games in Los Angeles. They missed more than 70% of their 3-point attempts in every loss at Crypto.com Arena.

Without their trademark deadly shooting, the Warriors were eliminated in the playoffs by a Western Conference team for the first time under head coach Steve Kerr. What players did Golden State need more from in order to beat Los Angeles and continue their pursuit of reaching the 2023 NBA Finals?

Let’s take a look at Golden State’s biggest culprits for the Warriors’ playoff exit against the Lakers.

Klay Thompson

Much of the basketball world anticipated the arrival of “Game 6 Klay” so the Warriors could extend the series to a deciding Game 7 back in Golden State. He never showed up. Instead, Thompson was the worst player on the floor as the Warriors’ season came to an end. Thompson missed 16 of his 19 field-goal attempts, including a miserable 2-of-12 shooting night from 3-point range. Thompson finished Game 6 with eight points, three rebounds and five assists. In the 38 minutes that Thompson was on the court, the Lakers outscored the Warriors by 33 points.

Game 6 was a microcosm of Thompson’s entire second-round performance. It was the worst playoff series of Thompson’s Hall-of-Fame career. The veteran averaged 16.2 points per game against the Lakers and finished with more field-goal attempts than points scored. In five of the six games, Thompson shot 36% or worse from the floor. Thompson was particularly bad after Golden State tied Los Angeles 1-1 in the series. In the Warriors’ Game 3 loss, Thompson had five made field goals and six turnovers. He shot an abysmal 21.4% from the floor over the next three games, never scoring more than 10 points.

Golden State cruised past Los Angeles in Thompson’s one lights-out shooting night. Thompson scored 30 points on 8-of-11 from 3-point range in a 127-100 Game 2 victory. The Warriors kept waiting for that version of Thompson to reappear against the Lakers, but he was nowhere to be found.

After battling back from a pair of season-ending injuries, Thompson looked similar to his old self before the Warriors-Lakers series. The 33-year-old averaged 21.9 points per game on 41.2% 3-point shooting in the regular season. He averaged 20.6 points in the first-round series against the Sacramento Kings.

Jordan Poole

Jordan Poole might’ve been the biggest difference between the Warriors’ 2022 championship team and the 2023 Warriors that failed to make the conference finals. The shooting guard averaged 17.0 points on 50.8% shooting over 22 games in last year’s playoffs. During the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Poole’s scoring plummeted to 10.3 points on 34.1% from the field.

By the end of the Warriors-Lakers series, Kerr had clearly lost faith in Poole. In a 104-101 Game 4 loss that Golden State nearly stole, Poole had no points and was limited to just 10 minutes on the court. He totaled 18 points on 24 field-goal attempts in the final two games of the series. In Game 2 and Game 3, Poole scored 11 total points and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.

Game 1 was easily Poole’s best performance against Los Angeles. Twenty-one of the 50 points that Poole scored in the second round came during the series opener. Before going 1-0f-17 on 3-pointers over the final five games, Poole drained six of his 11 attempts from distance. Even amidst an impressive overall shooting performance, Poole missed a questionable 28-footer with 10 seconds remaining that essentially ended the Warriors’ chances.

Poole’s disappointing finish to the season raises questions about the extension he signed last year. The Warriors’ guard is about to enter the first season of a four-year, $128 million contract.

The post 2 biggest Warriors culprits to blame for early exit after falling to Lakers appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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