Last year, the Lakers under-performed, something they may not have expected after signing LeBron James.
They finished 20 games out of first place in the West at 37-45, and missed the playoffs by a wide margin. That looks like it’s going to change this year if they keep their current pace.
A blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis put them in great position heading into the season, and James’ leadership and skill has helped ensure success thus far.
Lakers looking to make waves in NBA Finals
It should come as no surprise that the Lakers are not just trying to win the West, but win it all.
By record, the Lakers are the second best team in the league. They lead the Western Conference at 40-12, but are being challenged by the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are just three games behind them at 38-16. Tonight, L.A. heads to Denver in a match-up that could help decide who wins the West down the stretch.
This is the last game before the All Star Break for both teams, and the Lakers are looking to make a statement with a big win on the road. They will need a balanced offensive attack led by their big two, LeBron and A.D.
A big key to the teams’ success will be continued solid play from their bench players. LeBron James thinks they are in good shape:
That “spectacular” bench play will need to be a factor tonight and in the home stretch for L.A. If they take care of the Nuggets tonight, the Lakers would be in good shape heading into the break.
That may be easier said than done, but they are confident in their ability.
Defense could help end playoff and Finals drought
It has been nine years since L.A. won the NBA Finals and six seasons since they made the playoffs. The latter of those streaks is near guaranteed to end if they keep their pace, but winning the Finals will not be easy.
The Lakers’ defense has been a bright spot this season as they are above average is nearly every category. If that continues, it’s a recipe for success with their powerful offense leading the way.
L.A.’s strength could be debated, as they are well-rounded. But with offensive juggernauts like LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the team, it’s hard to say that anything other than the offense is their strength. Both James and Davis are having fantastic years.
Davis is averaging 26.5 points per game with 9.2 rebounds to go with a whopping 2.4 blocks per game.
James is averaging 24.8 points per game with 7.7 rebounds and 10.7 assists. The veteran forward spreads the ball around well to a solid supporting cast, one that may have what it takes to win a championship for the first time in nine years.
If the first three and a half months of the season are any indication, the Bucks and Lakers may very well meet in the NBA Finals. However, regular season record only means so much, and L.A. has a lot to prove if they are going to get back to the promise land.
They clearly have the pedigree, experience and talent to take it all the way, but there’s a lot of season left before the real season starts: the NBA Finals.