After the Los Angeles Lakers punched their ticket to the Western Conference Finals by beating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the conference semifinals, Rui Hachimura spoke about LeBron James, who had 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Game 6.
Hachimura said James is “amazing” and that the Lakers superstar takes “crazy” care of his body.
“He’s amazing,” Hachimura said. “That’s one thing I (was) surprised about him when I got here, it’s how crazy he takes care of his body, how he thinks about the game. Everything’s like high level and it’s so consistent. It’s amazing I’m really his teammate and I can watch it.”
The Warriors had no answers for James in Game 6. The four-time MVP shot 10-of-14 from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and 8-of-11 from the free-throw line. James finished the six-game series with averages of 24.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
Hachimura scored nine points off the bench in Game 6 in 16 minutes. He averaged 7.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in the series while shooting 57.1% overall and 55.6% from 3-point land. The Lakers will face Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. The two teams met in the 2020 conference finals at the Walt Disney World bubble, a series Los Angeles won in five games.
LeBron James on the Nuggets: ‘I Know What They Possess’
James told Lisa Salters of ESPN after Game 6 that he and the Lakers have a lot of “respect” for the Nuggets, who are the No. 1 seed in the West. Game 1 of the conference finals is on May 16 in Denver.
“It’s gonna be a great series,” James said. “You got two well-coached teams. They’ve been the No. 1 seed in the West all year long. So we give them a lot of respect. We come in with that series with a lot of respect for Denver and what they can accomplish and what they can do against us. And if we’re not locked in, they’ll put it to us. … We understand what they possess. I know what they possess and we’ll be ready for it on Tuesday.”
The Lakers went 2-2 versus the Nuggets during the regular season. However, they didn’t face Jokic and Co. with their revamped roster. The purple and gold made a flurry of moves at the trade deadline and racked up the best record in the West after the deadline.
Stephen Curry on LeBron James: ‘He’s an Amazing Basketball Player’
“I mean, it’s just a battle every time,” Curry said. “And I know there are a lot of different narratives within each of the series that we’ve had and different teams and teammates and all the above. But it’s just great basketball, great competition. Understanding who LeBron is and who he’s been his entire career and the accolades and the championships he’s won and the records that he has. Like, he’s an amazing basketball player. And he brings the best out of you and you know you have to be your best if you’re gonna try and beat him. And I think he feels vice versa.
“And so you love those experiences. Somebody’s gotta win and it’s part of the nature of what we’re dealing with. But there’s so much respect. And again, appreciation for the battles and experiences and the back and forths cuz it’s basketball at the highest level and that’s all you can ask for.”
James is eight wins away from winning his fifth championship and second title with the Lakers.