Suns Eliminate Lakers, End LeBron James’ Perfect First-Round Record

LeBron James at the China tour in 2018
LeBron James at the China tour in 2018. Photo by Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock (9818466f)

The Los Angeles Lakers’ bid to repeat as NBA champions has come to an unceremonious end. Lakers suffered a 113-100 loss in a must-win Game 6 against the Phoenix Suns and bowed out from the playoffs in the first round.

The Suns were led by their star guard Devin Booker, who continued his strong postseason play by torching the Lakers with a 47-point performance. He had help from veteran Chris Paul, who didn’t have a strong scoring night (eight points) but managed to impact the game with 12 assists and strong defense.

The Lakers, on the other hand, were short-handed almost from the beginning. After spending less than five minutes on the court, All-Star Anthony Davis reinjured his ankle and was done for the night. LeBron James tried to do it all by himself from that point on, but his 29 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists didn’t do much to keep the Lakers alive.

The loss was especially tough on James, who not only missed out on a chance to win his fifth ring but also spoiled his perfect playoff first-round record. Prior to the 2020-21 postseason, James made the playoff 14 times and has never been eliminated in the first round.

“It doesn’t matter to me as far as not making it out of the first round,” said James about the record. “What matters to me is getting this team back healthy. Me not being able to be at my full strength throughout this series, that’s my main focus.”

Lakers are now looking towards a long offseason which they will use to become healthy and retool for another try in 2021-22.

In the meantime, the Suns will look to make the most out of their first playoff appearance since 2010. They are scheduled to face the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.