The Golden State Warriors’ 2023 playoff run: Here’s what you missed

It’s official. For the first time in eight years, the Golden State Warriors were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs and didn’t make it to the National Basketball Association Finals. Starting from the play-in, the Lakers gradually worked their way towards the second round where they defeated the Warriors in six games.

The Warriors entered the playoffs after having a good, but somewhat down season for the team compared to prior years. They finished with a 44–38 record, which placed them in the sixth seed in the West. This matched them up to later play in the first round against the Sacramento Kings, a team that transformed from losing 54 games the prior season to only losing a mere 34.

During the regular season, the Kings held the highest-rated offense in the league as well as having an emerging core of young stars such as De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, two players averaging around 20 points per game on great efficiency.

In the next games, the Warriors began to turn around their losses, winning the next three games with Game Four being decided by a single point. The Kings then won Game Six, leaving the series at a tie of 3–3 — this meant the winner would ultimately be decided by a forced Game Seven.

In this Game Seven, the Warriors were able to secure a 20-point victory, with point guard Stephen Curry scoring a playoff-high of 50 points. This matched the team with the seventh seed Los Angeles Lakers, a team featuring superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Coming into the Warriors’ series, the Lakers were becoming more cohesive, substituting former MVP (Most Valuable Player) in Russell Westbrook for the much younger and efficient D’Angelo Russell, as well as picking up pieces such as Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. From starting the season with an abysmal record of 2–10, they went 26–12 after the trade deadline and were ultimately able to make it into the play-in.

This series against the Lakers started rough for the Warriors, with core player Jordan Poole averaging a measly 10 points per game on 34 percent efficiency from the field, a far cry from Poole’s 20 per game average. The team missed nearly 70 percent of their 3-point attempts while in Los Angeles. Klay Thompson, known for being efficient in big games, only made 3 out of his 19 attempts in Game Six alone.

The series ultimately ended in six games, with the Lakers winning four games to the Warriors’ two. The final game ended with a score of 101–122, with Lebron James scoring a near thirty point triple-double, meaning he scored close to 10 points, assists, and rebounds.

From this victory, the Lakers moved on to the Western Conference finals, where they were swept in four games by the first seeded Denver Nuggets. This led the Nuggets into the NBA finals for the first time, forever closing the chances of another Warriors championship for the fifth time in seven years.