The LA Lakers were able to secure a 103-101 victory over the LA Clippers on the opening night of the NBA restart. Two of the top teams in the West battled it out and gave fans an exciting game to watch.
The LA Lakers made a complete turnaround in one season
During the 2018-19 season, the Lakers had their eyes set on making the playoffs now that they had LeBron James on their team. Before James’ arrival, the Lakers struggled for the past few seasons and were among the worst teams in the NBA. That’s not something the NBA world is used to season given that the Lakers have had so much success throughout NBA history. Ever since Kobe Bryant retired in 2016, the Lakers were in search of a superstar. James was able to fill that hole and make an attempt to turn the team around.
During James’ first season with the Lakers, James led the Lakers to a 20-14 record, and they were in a position to make the playoffs. But James dealt with multiple injuries that season and had to miss significant time. That caused the Lakers to fall out of the playoff picture. The Lakers finished the season with a 37-45 record. Even though James played in 55 games, he led the team in points, assists, and rebounds. Some moves needed to be made for the Lakers if they wanted to compete for an NBA title. After the 2018-19 season, the Lakers made some moves in the offseason. They were able to get NBA superstar Anthony Davis from New Orleans and a new head coach in Frank Vogel. Now there were two superstars on the Lakers and a group of talented role players.
The 2019-20 season looked completely different for the Lakers. James was healthy, and he had Davis, who complimented him well. During the start of the season, the Lakers had a 17-2 record and let the NBA know that they were not messing around. Fast forward to now, and the Lakers have the top spot in the Western Conference. This is why James came out West. It’s likely that going into the 2020 NBA Playoffs, and the Lakers will have the No. 1 seed.
Stephen A. Smith is concerned with the Lakers based on their performance against the Clippers
Smith has the Lakers winning the 2020 NBA title, but after watching the Lakers/Clippers game, he has some concerns about the Lakers. The Clippers were without two of their top bench players in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Smith talked about how he felt about the Lakers’ performance on First Take. “Last night was the first time I looked at the Lakers and said, ‘I don’t like this’,” Smith said.
The Lakers were only able to beat the Clippers by two points without two of the Clippers’ top bench players, which was a problem for Smith. He didn’t like the fact that James played 34 minutes and Davis played 35 minutes, and they squeaked by with a win. Even though Smith thinks the Clippers have a deeper team and are more talented, he still believes the Lakers have a better shot at the title because they have James and Davis. If Harrell and Williams were both playing that game, who knows what the outcome could have been.
Should the Lakers be concerned from their performance against the Clippers?
The Lakers have nothing to worry about despite what Smith said. This was the first time in nearly four months that they played an actual game. There will be some players who have to get used to playing that NBA pace, and teams will commit turnovers, maybe more than they’re used to. But as the season goes on, everything will start to come back.
A good sign for the Lakers is that James and Davis took control during that first game. James stepped up in the final seconds of the game when he scored the go-ahead basket and locked down on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George when the Clippers had a chance to tie or win the game. The Lakers will be in a good position come playoff time.