Heat & Lakers Advance to NBA Conference Finals Over Knicks & Warriors

Friday night in the 2023 NBA Playoffs saw a pair of play-in tournament teams win at home in Game 6 to advance to the Conference Finals. The No. 8 seed Miami Heat and No. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers are still alive after eliminating the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors. We will have a new champion this season.

Heat Outlast Knicks Despite 41 Points from Brunson

The Knicks had a 14-point lead in Game 6, but they ran out of steam as no one but Jalen Brunson (41 points) showed up on the offensive end in a 96-92 loss. Brunson was the only Knicks player to score more than 15 points as the team shot 38% from the field and only had 13 assists.

Jimmy Butler scored 24 points for the Heat and Bam Adebayo added 23 points. Veteran Kyle Lowry had 9 assists, helping the Heat on a night they only shot 7-of-27 from 3. But they held tough in rebounding and only had 7 turnovers in another comeback win after grinding out the fourth quarter.

The Knicks had a shot in the final minute after a flagrant foul cut the deficit to 92-90. But with Brunson trying to do too much on a night he was the entire offense for the Knicks, he forced a risky pass and turned the ball over with 16 seconds left, allowing the Heat to go up 94-90 and salt the game away at the line.

Miami is in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in the last four seasons, and it will wait to see if the opponent is Boston or Philadelphia. The Heat are the second No. 8 seed to reach the Conference Finals in NBA history.

LeBron Shines in Game 6 Win, Eliminating Curry and Warriors

LeBron James
Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI/ABACAPRESS.COM – Photo by Icon sport

From 2-10 to the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers looked determined to end this series Friday night without risking a Game 7 in Golden State. They led wire to wire with LeBron James immediately showing aggression on his way to his first 30-point playoff game since Game 5 of the 2020 NBA Finals. Anthony Davis only had 15 points, but he was a monster on the glass with 20 rebounds. Austin Reaves scored 23 points, including a half-court 3 to get to halftime in style.

The Lakers led by 17 points in the first quarter, 10 at halftime, 14 to start the fourth, and the Warriors could do no better than getting it to 11 points in the end. But the Lakers scored another 31 points in the fourth for a 122-101 win. The Lakers shot 52% from the field, 50% from 3, and had just 6 turnovers. The Warriors shot 37.9% and were 13-of-48 (27.1%) from 3.

After a regular season that saw Golden State finish 11-30 on the road with the No. 28 Defensive Rating, it comes as little surprise the team ended its season with a loss as a road underdog.

The loss ends many streaks for the defending champs:

  • Golden State had gone 28 straight series with a road win, but they were 0-3 in this series.
  • Steve Kerr was 19-0 in playoff series played before the Finals but make it 19-1.
  • This is the first time the Warriors lost a playoff series where Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green started every game.
  • Curry scored 32 points but needed 28 shots as his 3-ball was off.
  • Thompson was again invisible with 8 points on 3-of-19 shooting.

The Lakers will face the top-seeded Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals beginning Tuesday.

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