The NBA will have new champions after the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated in six games by the Phoenix Suns in the first round series (100-113). The hosts gave an early punch to the Purple and Gold as they won the first quarter 36-14. The Lakers were able to come closer in the third quarter but it wasn’t enough.
After the game Lakers head coach Frank Vogel talked about the loss. “Credit the Suns,” he said when talking about the first quarter which the Lakers lost by 22 points. “They came out and made I think their first 7 threes or 6/7 threes or something like that. [Jae] Crowder made three, [Devin] Booker was red hot to start the game. Obviously just put us in the deficit and it was too much for us to overcome.”
Vogel also talked about the message to his players. “I don’t want to divulge too much of what I said to our guys,” he said. “Basically that I’m proud of them. We’ve been through a lot. We had a lot to overcome. I was proud of them for fighting all the way to the end and staying together throughout.”
He also provided a summary of the season which was riddled with injuries. “I just think the whole thing was a challenge. To play all the way into October and then start the season as quickly as we did. It was just going to be an uphill battle. Our guys were prepared for training camp. We tried to grind through it and get our legs under us and get them conditioned the right way.
“We made moves, front office made moves. We tried to manage and navigate through injuries as a coaching staff. Just trying to strike that right balance of keeping the guys in there and building them up the right way. Ultimately the injuries that we faced were just too much with AD and Bron being out for as long as they were and trying to strike that cohesiveness against a great team quite frankly.
“Phoenix Suns second best record in the NBA for a reason. This is a matchup if we’re whole it should probably take place at the conference finals. But obviously the regular season was what it was with injuries and we slipped. We have to take them in the first round. I would like to see what our group could have done against this team if we’re full strength. But we weren’t and that’s sports. We just got to do the best we can to make the best of it. Like I said, I was proud of how our guys fought through the injuries.”