Everyone has been anticipating the new dynamic duo that is Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Well,18,064 fans were in attendance for the Western Conference showdown Saturday night. Chase Center reached maximum capacity as the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Golden State Warriors.
It was a sight to see indeed.
For years, LeBron has played beside some of the greatest guards: Wade, Irving, Rondo. However, with the addition of Anthony Davis, the dynamic changes a bit. The Lakers’ plan is to play through AD. Essentially, LeBron would take on the role as a point guard as the Laker’s primary ball-handler, and that’s exactly what they did in the preseason opener.
LeBron was the floor general and he was able to get AD involved as well as the rest of the offense.
Davis made his first bucket as a Laker by tipping in James’ missed layup. James made his first bucket of the preseason only minutes later.
AD and James dominated the 1st half of the game, with a combined total of 37 points. Davis looked comfortable on the floor, reading plays and converting offensively. His rebounding and defensive awareness was great. The chemistry was there.
Davis would conclude the first half with a double-double: 22 points and 10 rebounds. James would finish with 15 points and 8 assists.
After a dominant first half, Coach Vogel rested them both for the rest of the game. The team continued to facilitate through Rondo and Danny Green.
The Lakers would go on to win, 123-101.
So far, the Lakers seem to be meshing well. Despite the absence of Kyle Kuzma and Demarcus Cousins, the Lakers chances of competing in the playoffs remain high.
Vogel expressed the lineup will change several times throughout the season. At times, there will be lineups that are larger in size, small, faster or slower. They will be experimenting.
Anthony Davis is a juggernaut. Not many players can average a double-double for an entire season while still being efficient. Last season, AD averaged 26 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. If AD and LeBron are healthy, the Lakers could be serious contenders for the title this year.
Even after losing Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors remain a threat in the Western Conference. They still have two-time MVP in Stephen Curry and great defensive player in Draymond Green. Klay Thompson is still out with a torn ACL, but he is eyeing a return post All-Star break.
There are multiple threats in the Western Conference, but the Clippers may be the “team-to-beat.” According to Vegas Insider, The Los Angeles Clippers are the favorites to win. Why?
Two words: two-way. Over the summer, the Clippers acquired two of the best two-way players in the league: Paul George from Oklahoma City in a trade and Kawhi Leonard as a free agent. Many are anticipating this duo against the Lakers’ duo in AD and James.
The expectation is high for the Clippers and the Lakers, although both teams will face minor setbacks to start the season. Paul George is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and will miss the preseason. George expresses he will miss most of October and aims for a return in November. Without George, there is no dynamic duo at Clipper nation. Most likely, he will miss the season opener against the Lakers.
As for the Lakers, they are still missing Kyle Kuzma, who is recovering from a stress reaction in his left foot.
Durability will be a factor for both teams. Anthony Davis has suffered several injuries in his past years, concerning his feet, shoulder, wrist etc and James missed over 20 games with a groin injury last season, while Paul George is currently recovering from shoulder injuries. Injuries have never been a concern for LeBron, but his age can hinder durability.
Hopefully everyone remains healthy because a healthy Kawhi and Paul against a healthy LeBron and AD will make for an exciting Western conference playoff matchup. The Lakers will open the regular season against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, Oct 22.