With how crazy this year has been, it feels much longer ago, but it was just last season that Magic Johnson abruptly abdicated his duties as Los Angeles Lakers team president. Fast forward to 2020, and the Lakers are in the conference finals for the first time since 2010.
The Lakers have had an impressive turnaround. LeBron James has been healthy all year, after suffering the first real extended injury of his NBA career last year. The team also traded for Anthony Davis, a bona fide second superstar for the club.
In the first round of the playoffs, L.A. lost the opener to the Portland Trail Blazers, before winning four straight. It followed that same pattern in the conference semis against the Houston Rockets, knocking James Harden and company out in tonight’s Game 5.
Now, LeBron and the Lakers wait to see if the Los Angeles Clippers close out the Denver Nuggets in Game 6, or if the Nuggets came all the way back from being down 3-1 to win the series. After tonight’s game, Magic Johnson congratulated head coach Frank Vogel, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the Lakers on their big win today.
Congratulations to Coach Vogel, LeBron, AD, the entire @Lakers team and staff for advancing to the Western Conference Finals!!! 👏🏾💜💛
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 13, 2020
He notably didn’t congratulate general manager Rob Pelinka, whom he accused of “backstabbing” him after he made the decision to leave the franchise. Of course, your mileage may vary with how much you read into that.
The Los Angeles Lakers ran away with tonight’s game, 119-96. LeBron led the way in a very balanced team effort, with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Five other Lakers scored at least 10 points in the game.
We’ll see if the Clippers can clinch the other conference finals spot tomorrow. Their game against the Denver Nuggets tips off at 1 p.m. ET.