Plenty of good series remain now that the second round of the NBA playoffs is in full swing, but let’s face it, none are being talked about as much as the matchup of the Lakers and Warriors.
Game 1 is Tuesday night at Golden State.
It marked the first time a player has hit the 50-point plateau in a Game 7.
So what does James make of seeing his old foe, first met during those old Cavaliers-Warriors Finals series?
“Just two of the most competitive players that have ever played this game. And we want to etch our names in the history books as much as we can,” James said, via Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports. “But playing and doing it our own way.”
Of course, Curry isn’t the only familiar face for James. He’s also had his fair share of battles with Warriors forward Draymond Green. The two will likely match up for most of the series.
While the two are sure to go at it in heated fashion on the court, James strongly suggested there is no bad blood between the two. Both players are represented by super agent Rich Paul.
“At the end of the day, we’ve played this game for so long and we have a great relationship that lies off the floor that people don’t want to understand,” James said, via Rohlin. “And that’s OK, who cares?”
These won’t be the only links between the Lakers and Warriors, of course. Former Lakers center and current broadcast analyst Mychal Thompson is the father of Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson. With the Lakers and Warriors meeting in the playoffs for the first time of the Curry-Thompson-Green era, the storyline sort of tells itself.
“Just a great basketball game,” Thompson told Mark Medina of The Sporting Tribune. “Either way, I can’t lose. If my son wins, I’m thrilled. If the Lakers win, I’m happy.”
But does Mychal Thompson have a prediction?
“It’s going to be an exciting series either way, whether the Lakers or the Warriors win,” he said, via Medina. “I think whoever wins this series is probably going to win the title. You have to respect Denver and Phoenix on the other side. But I think this series is going to be so good. It’s going to prepare the winner so much that they will be more battle tested coming into the West Finals.”
As for outsides, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times asked a couple of rival basketball takes on who they think will win.
They too seemed to struggle to make a firm prediction.
“I think it’s going to be really entertaining. Two really, really good teams playing,” a West scout said, via Woike. “I think I favor the Warriors, but it’s which style of play works. I don’t think (Warriors center Kevon Looney) has the same kind of impact against Anthony Davis as he did against (Kings center Domantas Sabonis). … The Lakers will want to play a little slower, walk it up more. They don’t shoot nearly as many threes. It’ll be whose style wins out.”
Meanwhile, a rival West executive went with the Warriors.
“I was watching Golden State-Sacramento, and I was thinking if Sacramento wins, the Lakers beat them, I think for sure, because of the experience,’ the exec said, via Woike. “You saw that in Game 7.
“But if the Warriors won, I felt like they’d beat the Lakers for the same reasons. Their experience. Bron is Bron. I get it. But (the Warriors are) a well-oiled machine.”
More out of LA
- We have a lot more on the Lakers and their thoughts following their win over the Grizzlies right here, as well as all the time on our Lakers page here.
- In case you missed it, the Lakers are not expected to pursue Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving this offseason, despite some reports to the contrary. We have that full post here.