It’s Still The Los Angeles Lakers Title to Lose
As the Los Angeles Lakers get ready for their play-in game against the Golden State Warriors and we approach the start of the NBA playoffs, remember one thing; don’t sleep on LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers. After all, the Lakers are still the NBA champions, until another team takes them off the throne.
After coming off the shortest offseason in NBA history, this year was filled with injuries to their major stars and the usual bumps and bruises that come. As they started to get healthy down the stretch and find the rhythm and chemistry that was lacking because of all the lineup shuffling, the Lakers won five straight games to close the season. This is a dangerous team led by two of the best players in the league and are starting to get healthy at the right time.
After missing 30 games earlier in the season, Davis has looked like his old self recently, dominating on both sides of the floor. James played in the final two games of the season after missing 26 games due to injury. In those two games, he showed off his explosiveness by throwing down vintage dunks and didn’t look like the ankle was bothering him. Dennis Schroder also missed two weeks down the stretch due to the league’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols. He was able to play in the Lakers’ last two games as he looked to find a rhythm heading into the playoffs.
Does Defense Still Matter?
We’ve all heard the phrase: “Defense wins championships.” This season could put that theory to the test. The league seems to have shifted its focus to scoring and three-point shooting. The Lakers finished the season with the top-ranked defense in the league. This is impressive, considering they did this while Lebron and Davis missed large chunks of the season. Davis is arguably the best defender in the league, and Lebron can be a force on defense when he’s locked in. Getting these guys back healthy has a chance to make the top-ranked defense even better.
The Marquee Matchup
The matchup everyone wants to see is the Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets facing off in the NBA Finals. We would get Brooklyn vs. Los Angeles, East Coast vs. West Coast, Lebron vs. Durant. The Nets seem to have taken the opposite approach and went all-in on offense. The trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving looks like an unstoppable offensive force. The series would feature contrasting styles, with a high-powered offense facing off with a dominant defense.
Does defense still win championships? Or is it all about offense? Both teams will have a long road to the finals. The west is stacked top to bottom with good teams, and the Nets will have to go through tough Milwaukee and Philadelphia teams. As teams begin their playoff journeys, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are getting healthy, and Lebron James is out to remind everyone that he’s still ‘The King’