When Chris Paul was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder, it seemed like he would probably slowly fade away into irrelevancy. That hasn’t been the case at all. The Thunder have been one of the best teams in the NBA and Paul has proven to still be one of the league’s best players.
Oklahoma City has clinched a playoff berth this season after ESPN gave them a 0.2% chance of making it. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James decided to bring that fact back up and went after the people who doubted Paul.
Everybody knows that Paul and LeBron are close friends so of course, he’s going to stick up for him. That said, nobody could’ve expected the Thunder to be this good. That’s all thanks to Paul who has led the team while playing like a potential MVP.
Lakers Could Face Paul in Playoffs
With only one game left before the playoffs start, it’s looking like the Lakers could have a good chance to play the Thunder in the second round. If things stay the same, the Rockets and the Thunder will be facing off in the first round and the winner would play the Lakers in the next round if they can get past the eighth seed.
Los Angeles got smoked by both teams in the seeding games. Oklahoma City would probably be the preferable matchup as the amount of firepower that Houston has is concerning. Paul’s been great but it’s hard to imagine he can beat LeBron and Anthony Davis in four out of seven games.
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LeBron Reveals He’s Not in Playoff Mode Yet
Regardless of who the Lakers play, they clearly have a lot to work on. They’ve looked really bad in most the seeding games. LeBron acknowledged that he doesn’t think the team is where they need to be right now.
“I don’t know,” LeBron said after the Lakers’ win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. “I don’t think we’re a 10. And we shouldn’t be a 10. Because it’s a different type of preparation that goes into a playoff game.”
He also revealed that he has some things to work on.
“Me, personally, as far as mentally, I’m not in playoff-mode,” he said. “Physically, I’m getting there. I feel like my legs have gotten better and better, my game has improved more and more, I’m getting more and more comfortable with the bubble. But as far as the mental side of it, nah, I’m not there. Personally, I don’t think our team is there. But we will be. It’s a different type of mindset that you have to be in, but you don’t want to jump into it before you actually get there because it takes a lot — a lot of energy, a lot of effort.”
In the grand scheme of things, these seeding games didn’t matter much for the Lakers. They were able to clinch the number one seed in the Western Conference pretty quickly so they’ve just been using these games to get back into rhythm.