Friday, December 3, 2021

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James, Lakers eliminated from NBA playoffs after losing to Suns

The Phoenix Suns eliminated LA Lakers from the N.B.A. playoffs with a 113-100 victory in Game 6 of their first-round series, ending LeBron James’s hopes of hauling the Lakers to back-to-back championships.

It is the first time that James, 36, has exited the playoffs in the first round.

The second-seeded Suns, who are making their first postseason appearance since 2010, leaned on the inside-outside combination of Devin Booker, 24, and Deandre Ayton, 22, throughout the series.

“I just know they wanted to be in these types of games,” Monty Williams, the Suns’ coach, said before Thursday’s game. “And I think they haven’t run from the moment, run from situations.”

Both players, Williams said, got a taste of the spotlight last season, when the Suns won eight straight games in the league’s bubble — a run that left Phoenix short of qualifying for the postseason but made the team’s young core thirst for more.

The Suns will now face the Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals. The Nuggets eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

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