LeBron James believes he can win whenever he advances to the NBA Finals.
On a couple occasions, he had little real chance. His first and last performances in Cleveland ended in a sweep, with the Cavaliers advancing beyond San Antonio in 2007 and Golden State in 2018.
In his 10th NBA Finals, he sees his first chance with the Los Angeles Lakers the same way he saw his trips to Cleveland and Miami.
“The game is won between four lines, not won on paper,” James said. “At the end of the day, when I lost in the final, the better team won because they played a better game, they were more prepared and they did what they had to do to win those four games.”
This time, he will be his team.
Along with James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers are equipped with the same kind of firepower when 20 years ago Shakili O’Neill and Kobe Bryant gave them the first of three straight titles.
The L-NBA team has two first-team picks, combined for 20 or 60 points in their first season, and the Lakers have won 19.
Now they are ready to win their first Lakers title in a decade.
“Now we want to make sure we get this thing done right,” Davis said.
James shows almost no drop-shows at 35, tying his career high with four triple-doubles in this play career. With an average of 26.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists, no player has reached the postseason in his first 15 games.
Davis has been impressive with a career-best 29.6-point average, trailing only Michael Jordan (.4).) And Alan Iverson (7 .7 ..7) in at least 25 games.
B, M Adebayo and Jimmy Butler will be able to snatch one of the hits, putting up strong defenses. No one is stopping them both.
Players in the role of Lakers playoff-tested veterans ranging from Rajan Rondo, Dwight Howard and Danny Green to newcomers like Kylie Kuzma and Alex Caruso. Los Angeles is shooting 49.8% as a team, topping the postseason.
The Lakers are also limiting the teams to 106.5 points, the third lowest in the playoffs, and the hit will probably be the least explosive squad they will face. Portland had Damien Lillard and CJ McCullum, Houston was with NBA scoring leaders James Harden and Russell Westbrook, and Denver boasts the top two players of total points in the playoffs with Jamal Murray and Nicola Jokic.
Los Angeles beat all three teams in five matches.
Once they’ve done this, then the ideas for what turned out to be a challenging season for the Lakers turned right. Houston’s general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of anti-democracy activists in Hong Kong sparked a biased tour of China. Bryant, a franchise icon, was killed in a helicopter crash in January. The coronavirus epidemic halted the season and forced players to stay away from their families for months.
Four more wins and the Lakers could go home.
“It’s been like every day since we’re in the bubble, man, this is a great opportunity. Take full advantage of it and stay in the moment, ”Howard said. “You know, even after we won the Western Conference final, I wanted to be, exactly, just to win the Western Conference final. The goal is to win the championship. ”
They will. Lakers in five.
Brian Mahoney is the national basketball writer for the Associated Press. Write it on bmahoney (at) ap.org
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