NBA: Los Angeles Lakers eliminated in first round of playoffs
An incredible effort from Devin Booker helped the Phoenix Suns eliminate NBA defending champions Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of playoffs. Lakers suffered a 100-113 defeat in the sixth game, losing the series 2-4. Legend LeBron James, who scored 29 points, faced a first-round exit for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, Phoenix Suns won their first playoff series since 2010.
Booker scored a total of 47 points for the second-seeded Suns, with 22 of them coming in the first half. Meanwhile, Lakers missed the services of Anthony Davis, who missed the final few games with a groin strain. However, James still managed to amass 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope too claimed 19 points for the Lakers.
Booker was unstoppable in the sixth game, firing 47 points, which helped the Suns clinch the series. He also added a total of 11 rebounds. By doing so, Booker joins Charles Barkley as the only players in Phoenix Suns history to post 45 points and 10 rebounds in a playoff game. Notably, this was his first playoff series in the NBA history.
"He's one of those guys who wants to move himself into the elite class. He believes he's one of the best players in the league. He doesn't believe there's a better person at his position for sure and I'm certain he believes he's one of the top players and this is where you get to show it," Suns head coach Monty Williams said.
The Lakers became only the seventh reigning champions to be knocked out in the first round of playoffs. Notably, the San Antonio Spurs were the last defending champions to be eliminated in the first round. The Lakers will now shift their attention to the off-season. Meanwhile, the Suns, who won their first playoff series since 2010, will play the second-round series against Denver Nuggets.
LeBron James faced his first-ever series-loss in the first round of playoffs. Prior to this loss, he held a 14-0 record in the first round of his playoff career (dating back to 2006). This was his 266th career playoff game.