Even though the Lakers didn’t play the Clippers in the playoffs, the battle for Los Angeles is pretty much settled for right now. The Clippers had there shot to finally take the next step and make it to the Western Conference Finals but failed once again. Much has been made about how there’s a rivalry between the Lakers and the Clippers but it’s mostly one way.
LeBron James was asked about the Nuggets-Clippers Game 7 and revealed his thought process while watching it.
“I really don’t have a comment about it,” LeBron said Thursday. “I was just watching the game from a fans perspective and scouting both teams at the same time.”
He was then asked if he had any desire to face off against the Clippers so they could settle who the best team in Los Angeles was.
“Nah. What were we settling?” replied LeBron.
This echoes what a number of other Lakers have said. The Clippers clearly had it out for the Lakers but the latter doesn’t seem to care much. They’re one of the two most successful teams in the history of the NBA and the Clippers have never even made it to the Conference Finals. LeBron is right, there’s nothing to settle between the two teams. The rivalry is already settled.
LeBron Praises Mike Malone
“When you work hard on your craft and you see others working just as hard on their craft, it becomes organic and mutual respect,” LeBron said of Malone.
Despite getting fired from his first head coaching job, Malone has done an excellent job with the Nuggets. Very few people thought they’d be this good this fast. They’re a really young team but just beat the favorites to win the title. Much of that is due to Malone’s coaching job.
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Lakers Can’t Overlook the Nuggets
It’s clear that the Nuggets can no longer be underestimated. They’ve come back from 3-1 down twice which is almost impossible to do. They have one of the best big men in the NBA in Nikola Jokic and a rising star in Jamal Murray. They’ve also got some nice pieces all around the roster.
The Lakers aren’t the Clippers, they’re not going overlook the Nuggets. They’ve just seen them pull off a miracle two series in a row. The Lakers are going to take this matchup very seriously. Unlike the last two teams they’ve played, the Nuggets have an elite big man they’re going to need to figure out how to stop. Fortunately, they have Defensive Player of the Year runner up Anthony Davis on the roster. Davis versus Jokcic should be a great matchup to watch. The Lakers are without a doubt the better team and should win easily. However, if they go into the series thinking that way, they could end up stunned just like the Clippers were.