Coming into the year, no one expected the Los Angeles Lakers to legitimately contend for the NBA championship. The Lakers were a seriously flawed team. Just one year ago, they didn’t even make the playoffs! They went 33-49, finishing 11th in the Western Conference. The year prior to that, they were the 7th seed in the Western Conference, and although they beat the Golden State Warriors in the Play-In Tournament, they lost in the first round to the Phoenix Suns. So to say the team didn’t have high expectations this year would be an understatement. They got off to a slow start this year as well. However, they made a few trades at the trade deadline, bringing in guys like D’Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt. They started playing better and managed to get in as the 7th seed in the Western Conference. After beating the Minnesota Timberwolves, they faced the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. They went into the series as the underdog, but won the series in 6 games. Then they faced the Golden State Warriors in the second round. They were underdogs once again, and once again they won the series in 6 games.
Now, the only question is whether or not they can do it again. They are facing the number 1 seeded Denver Nuggets for the right to go to the NBA Finals. LeBron James is going to have to go above and beyond to beat the number 1 seed and the MVP of the league. Of course, Denver has homecourt advantage in this series. LeBron has performed as expected in the postseason thus far, averaging over 23 points, 10 rebounds, over 5 assists, and over 1 block per game, while averaging over 37 minutes per game. Once again, the Lakers are entering this series as the underdogs. As they should be. However, they’ve proven people wrong so frequently in the second half of the season and in the playoffs so far. There’s no reason to think they can’t do it again. For LeBron, this is another chance to add to his legacy. He’s constantly in discussions of being the best basketball player of all time, and if he could win the title this year, that would seriously bolster his case for being the best ever.
This is what we love about sports. This is why we always feel the need to tune in to watch and see what’s going to happen. The Nuggets should win this series, but the Lakers shouldn’t be here to begin with, according to many fans. This is going to be a series to remember, one way or the other.