The NBA season is almost halfway over and the true championship contenders are starting to stick out. Holding the best record in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers figure to be in the conversation come spring. As dominant as the team has been, there are still teams out there that believe they know how to beat the Lakers.
Stephen A. Smith on First Take dropped an interesting nugget on what he’s hearing from other teams about the Lakers.
“When you look at the Los Angeles Lakers and opponents that go against them, this is what they say: Very few teams believe, talent-wise, they can match up with them,” Smith said. “They all believe… you can get physical with them, you got a chance to take their heart and to compromise them.”
There’s no doubt that Los Angeles has an incredibly talented roster and they may have the best duo in the NBA with Anthony Davis and LeBron James. However, based on what Smith is saying, teams believe that they just have to push the team around in order to beat them.
The only team that in the west that should really concern the Lakers is the Clippers as they’ve lost both matchups to them. While their record isn’t nearly as good, the Clippers are built for the playoffs and based on what Smith had to say, their star player called out LeBron during their last matchup.
“I was told by a very reliable source that Kawhi Leonard sat up there and said, ‘Somebody tell LeBron stop being scared to guard me,'” Smith said. “That’s what they said… That’s the only basketball thing I’ve heard about the Lakers.”
Lou Williams Isn’t Buying It
If Kawhi Leonard did call out LeBron like that, it certainly would be out of character. The normally quiet and reserved player usually lets his game do the talking. Lou Williams, Leonard’s teammate, doesn’t seem to be buying what Smith is selling.
The “blue cap” emoji is meant to insinuate a lie. Williams went on to explain further.
Based on what Williams is saying, it sounds like he doesn’t know for sure if Leonard said it, but it isn’t something the superstar would say. Smith is a veteran reporter and it’s unlikely he’d report fake news. However, it’s always possible he got bad intel. The world will probably never know for sure if Leonard called out LeBron, but it certainly adds to the rivalry if he did.
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Can Lakers Overcome Clippers?
It’s looking more and more that the path to the NBA Finals in the Western Conference is going to go through Los Angeles. Between LeBron, Kawhi, Anthony Davis and Paul George, four of the best players in the world play in the City of Angels. Through two games, it looks like the Clippers have the edge over the Lakers.
Kawhi has dominated both games between the two teams while the Lakers superstars haven’t had their best outputs. They have another matchup on January 28th, which will be very telling. If the Clippers go up 3-0 in the series, it’s going to be hard to imagine the Lakers can beat them four out of seven games come the postseason.