But that wasn’t enough for James to win over one of his biggest adversaries — Skip Bayless, who finds any way possible to criticize “The King.” The Undisputed host fired off a series of tweets following the Lakers Game 5 win calling out LeBron and the Lakers, starting with a reference to Denver coach Mike Malone (who was an assistant with the Cavaliers), who compared James’ mindset to Michael Jordan’s months ago.
“I guess LeBron was trying to get even with Mike Malone, who coached him in Cleveland, for saying during ‘The Last Dance’ that LeBron doesn’t have the killer mentality that Jordan did,” Bayless wrote. “Malone didn’t lie.”
Bayless: Clippers Would Have Beat Lakers
Bayless has also been adamant that James has a “cakewalk” of a route to his fourth NBA title, which he doubled-down on after the Lakers sent the Nuggets packing.
“The Clippers would’ve beaten the Lakers. Even the Lakers know that,” Bayless wrote. The Clippers allowed the Nuggets to come back from a 3-1 series deficit last round, preventing the matchup many predicted for the Western Conference finals.
He continued: “This is LeBron’s easiest path to a ring: KD/Kyrie decided not to play. So LBJ got to beat a 35-39 Portland (and Dame got hurt), then the Rockets after Danuel House broke house rules, then the Nuggets instead of Kawhi’s Clippers, and now maybe the overachieving Heat. Meant to be.
“LeBron, nearing the end of his 17th season, got a huge break when he got 5 months off to get ready for a playoff push. Now he gets to rest again as Boston and Miami battle it out. What a Covid championship this will be for LeBron.”
LeBron James: ‘Job Not Done’ for Lakers
Regardless of what Bayless thinks, James and Anthony Davis spurred a huge turnaround for the Lakers this season. After missing the playoffs a year ago, the Lakers were the top seed in the Western Conference and have won each of their playoff series in five games.
James has not shown any signs of slowing down and was especially great in crunch time against the Nuggets, scoring 16 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter. James became just the fourth player to make it to the Finals for a 10th time, but he knows the job is far from finished for the Lakers.
“For me personally the job is not done,” James said. “For us as a franchise, I’m extremely proud to be a part of this franchise getting back to where it belongs and that’s playing for championships and competing for championships, representing the Western Conference this year in the championships. So, this is what I came here for.”
The Lakers will now await the winner of the Eastern Conference finals, which the Miami Heat lead 3-2. Regardless of which team ends up pulling out the series, the Lakers will be hefty favorites to take home the franchise’s 17th NBA title.