Ahead of the Lakers hosting of the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, Chris Broussard of “Undisputed” made some bold claims that may fire up the current 3rd place Western Conference team.
“There’s only one person in the Western Conference who knows what it takes to beat Golden State,” Broussard said. “That person is LeBron James. The team to beat in the west, outside of Golden State, the biggest threat, is the Los Angeles Lakers.”
You can check out the full clip here:
Broussard’s comments come on the heels of OKC’s Russell Westbrook claiming that he’s the best passer, rebounder, and defender at his position, and LeBron James declaring himself the greatest player of all time because of his 2016 NBA title.
The Lakers Will be Without LeBron James Again Tonight
As Broussard claims that the Lakers are the second-biggest threat in the West–despite OKC’s higher ranking at the moment–the Los Angeles team will have to do a lot to prove that fact as they continue to play without LeBron James.
James suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day against the Warriors and has yet to return, giving the Lakers a chance to either flounder without him or prove that they’re more than just LeBron James’s next charity case.
They’ve dropped six of their last ten games, and two of their last three without LeBron, and tonight’s matchup against the Thunder will present a significant challenge for the young Lakers team.
The Thunder are coming off of a 122-102 revenge win against the Dallas Mavericks, where four out of five starters were in double figures, Russell Westbrook nabbed his characteristic triple-double, and Paul George continued to impress with a 22-point performance.
LeBron’s Absence Will Test the Lakers
LeBron has been defying his age this season, averaging 27.3 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. Even in his 16th year he’s a dominant player–the best in the league, still. It’s a major blow to this young Lakers team to have him out with a rare injury.
That being said, his absence gives the Lakers a chance to rely on themselves for a moment as they prepare to enter their first postseason as a major contender. Kyle Kuzma has been stepping up, scoring 33 on December 27th against the Kings during James’s first absence.
His return is on the horizon, as Mike Trudell reported that LeBron got up some shots for the first time yesterday since sustaining the groin injury last week.
As the No. 7 Lakers face the No. 3 OKC Thunder tonight without their X-factor, it’ll be a prime time to see what exactly the Lakers are working with. If they’re a shell of themselves without LeBron, Broussard’s claim that they’re the second-biggest threat in the West may prove unfounded.