The 2019-2020 version of the Los Angeles Lakers is proving to be even better than what many fans envisioned. They’re atop the Western Conference while LeBron James and Anthony Davis have become arguably the best duo in the NBA.
With a win Monday over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team extended their winning streak to nine games. The game was the first time Kevin Love has played LeBron since James left Cleveland. Love had a chance to talk with ESPN about the experience after the game and had some high praise for the Lakers, along with a bold take or two.
“It was different because it’s been so long and we’ve been through so many battles with each other,” Love told ESPN. “I’m not going to say it felt normal, but I feel like we were both out there competing and playing hard, but seeing him play with that team is obviously different. Especially, even I didn’t get to see him with AD [Anthony Davis] and it still feels like they could do something special.”
Despite LeBron being 35-years old, it looks like he hasn’t slowed down at all and he figures to be among the top choices for MVP at the end of the year. Love admitted there was doubt about James leading the Lakers, but the outlook has shifted drastically.
“Everybody did [have some doubt],” Love said about LeBron leading the Lakers. “What do they say, I’m not a religious guy, but, ‘You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans’? There’s no sure thing other than death and taxes, right? Another cliché. But it’s true. Who is to know that it will all work out? But they got really fortunate that it’s obviously L.A., it’s LeBron and they’re in win-now mode. They really have a chance.”
After a disastrous 2018-2019 season, it looked like LeBron’s time as a contender could be over. However, the Lakers swung a trade for Anthony Davis and look to be back on top.
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Love wasn’t the only one handing out praise as LeBron had a chance to talk about Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson, who could find himself on the trade block this year.
“We had a lot of battles in practice before, too,” James said. “So ‘Double T’ is a great defender being able to guard bigs, being able to guard smalls, things of that nature. So just got to try to be very decisive with your moves, don’t play around with the ball too much and also be able to finish because he’s a really good shot-blocker as well.”
Thompson also spoke about what it’s like to guard his former teammate.
“I just accept the challenge,” Thompson said. “It’s always fun playing against the best player of our generation, arguably one of the best players of all time, so I love it.”
Despite their best efforts, the Cavaliers couldn’t keep up with Los Angeles, even though Anthony Davis didn’t play. Thompson knows that the Lakers have their eyes on the prize this year.
“This is a team,” Thompson said about the Lakers, “for them, it’s a championship-or-bust year.”
It’s going to be very difficult to stop the freight train that is the Lakers on the road to the NBA Finals.