EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Earlier than LeBron James walked off the follow courtroom to talk to reporters Monday, he tracked down a unfastened ball close to the half-court line and flung it over his proper shoulder again towards the basket the place he had simply been capturing with Anthony Davis.
The ball swished clear by means of the online.
“Not unhealthy,” James stated.
And never a nasty approximation of the kind of shot-making the Los Angeles Lakers can count on to see out of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors when their second-round sequence opens up with Sport 1 on Tuesday in San Francisco.
“They clearly shoot a whole lot of 3s,” Lakers guard Austin Reaves stated. “Transition 3s. You recognize, simply 3s in all places, truthfully.”
James is aware of the Warriors’ strengths all too effectively. This will probably be his sixth postseason assembly with Golden State. Golden State beat his Cleveland Cavaliers within the NBA Finals in 2015, 2017 and 2018. James’ Cavs beat the Warriors within the 2016 Finals and James’ Lakers beat them within the play-in match in 2021.
“Simply two of probably the most aggressive gamers which have ever performed this sport,” James stated of the dynamic between him and Curry. “And we wish to etch our names within the historical past books as a lot as we are able to. However enjoying and doing it our personal method.”
James is a four-time champion, a four-time Finals MVP, a four-time MVP and the main scorer in league historical past. Curry is a four-time champion, a one-time Finals MVP, a two-time MVP and the league’s all-time chief in 3-pointers made.
“[Curry] places within the work,” James stated. “And if you put within the work, 9 instances out of 10 you are going to see the outcomes. And he is finished that all through his entire, complete profession. I’ve nothing however the utmost respect for Steph and all the pieces he is been in a position to accomplish, not solely on the ground but additionally off the ground, too. It is simply nice to have individuals like that on this league to set an instance for the technology to return.”
The defending champs, seeded No. 6 within the Western Convention, are nonetheless alive due to Curry’s 50-point efficiency Sunday to beat the Sacramento Kings, probably the most factors ever by a participant in a Sport 7.
“You have seen a number of the pictures, the routine pictures, that Steph was making in Sport 7 that everyone was going loopy after,” James stated. “That is simply Steph. If you’re that nice, you make robust pictures like that. So, we have got to be locked in and never harm ourselves.”
Los Angeles, the No. 7 seed, has been off since Friday when it demolished the Memphis Grizzlies 125-85 to win its first-round sequence in six video games, changing into the primary group to upset a No. 2 seed within the opening spherical for the reason that San Antonio Spurs in 2010.
The Lakers gained the season sequence 3-1 towards Golden State however there’s little to glean from these video games. They performed on opening evening again in October when Los Angeles had a totally totally different roster. Then they performed 3 times from mid-February by means of early March, with the Lakers taking all three video games, however Curry and James each missed two of these video games — to not point out Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II lacking time for Golden State in that stretch and D’Angelo Russell being out for one of many matchups for Los Angeles.
Tactically, the sequence may hinge extra on what Anthony Davis and Kevon Looney do for his or her respective groups to regulate the paint than on how James and Curry fare.
However the highlight will probably be shining on the 38-year-old James and 35-year-old Curry — and deservedly so. There may not be too many of those matchups left for them.
“It is one of the best rivalry of this technology … these two gamers,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham stated. “It may be one other enjoyable battle.”