What would such a scenario mean for the Lakers? Create. Lakers-Nets would easily feature the most star power of any matchup. Jan. 31: Nets center DeAndre Jordan hangs on the rim after throwing down a two-handed slam against the Wizards. But while I think they’ll win enough games to stay out of it, they’ll flirt with the play-in tournament a lot closer than expected until LeBron returns. 7 seed and be forced to participate in a play-in game to advance into the postseason. Missing LeBron and Anthony Davis has significantly hurt the Lakers on the offensive end. Jan. 22: Spurs forward Rudy Gay (22) explodes down the lane for the one-handed slam against the Mavericks. Kuzma might not be putting up eye-popping numbers (12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds) but has really carved out his role this season. March 14: The Houston Rockets' Victor Oladipo dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Boston Celtics at Toyota Center. Final scores were 98-109. Iseman: With the Nets, it’s a similar situation to the Lakers: If KD, Kyrie and Harden are all healthy and playing, I don’t see any team winning four games against them in any series. Bontemps: Fiction. Even when Davis gets back first, they’re a much different team. As for keeping Giannis even with the new contract, who knows? Starks: What about the East. Kevin Durant has missed significant time though he is expected back “soon.” James Harden had a short-lived return (Monday) night. Feb. 8: The Toronto Raptors' DeAndre' Bembry (95) dunks against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. But GM Jon Horst been booted that can down the road a few years. Their game plan: Make the Nets work for every shot they take. The Lakers led by as many as 26. USA TODAY Sports’ Larry Starks moderated the discussion with a panel of NBA experts from around the USA TODAY Network: Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Berry Tramel of the Oklahoma City Oklahoman and Chris Iseman of the Bergen County Record. But we're talking a couple years down the road. There's a reason he moved up the MVP board. Getty Images Feb. 11: The Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green hangs onto the rim after a dunk against the Orlando Magic during the third quarter at Chase Center. Jan. 20: Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz (30) throws down the reverse dunk over Celtics defender Javonte Green (43) on the break. Feb. 14: The Toronto Raptors' Aron Baynes dunks against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Amalie Arena. How healthy will Kevin Durant be? There’s a logjam at the top. And still scores a lot. Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about. Is Giannis there for the long run if they continue to stub their toe in the playoffs? How are they going to work together in the playoffs, when there's so much more on the line? From basketball, football, baseball to golf, tennis, swimming and soccer! © 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. Are the Nets locks? An all-LA first-round series would not be good for either Los Angeles team. Owczarski: Of the three, Khris Middleton is now the one that would be in any conversation if they felt a roster shakeup of big salaries / all-stars is needed. ↓, Kyle Kuzma Trolls Nets After Lopsided Lakers Win, Copyright © 2021 Heavy, Inc. All rights reserved. Jan. 11: Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) drives through the Pacers for the one-handed finish. ​Tramel: The one chemistry concern for Brooklyn is the guy we all thought was such a level-headed cornerstone all those years. How long with Bucks fans be frustrated with bowing out earlier than expected with "better" teams. ​Owczarski: The point about not playing defense in the postseason matters. And Harden's played almost every game since he arrived while Kyrie and KD have obviously not been available nearly as much. NBA coaches applaud MLB for moving All-Star game from Atlanta, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. But you want to have a go-after-these-guys mindset,” Vogel said. The Nets are the current betting favorite to win the title after adding former All-Star Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge to a roster that already had Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. The Nets have three premier scorers in … The Nets have shown they are a top team in the Eastern Conference even when they don't have their Big 3 of James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant playing together. The two NBA outfits played out a close contest in Shanghai on Thursday, but the action was overshadowed by off-court controversies with the NBA-China relationship at ... Continue reading. Jan. 27: Nets center DeAndre Jordan puts down a monster two-handed reverse against the Hawks. LeBron James isn’t expected to return to the lineup until the end of April after suffering a high right ankle sprain. Lakers vs Nets Anthony Davis exits with thumb sprain as Lakers lose to Nets. March 23: The New York Knicks' Mitchell Robinson dunks the ball against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Durant. May 6: The Golden State Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson dunks against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second quarter at Chase Center. Also Read: Dion Waiters Agrees Mega Contract With Lakers For The Remainder Of The Season: Reports. 1 year ago by Silver Screen and Roll. ​Zillgitt: Really like Chris’ point about Denver. Starks: Does that mean they’re no longer the team to beat? He'll be 31 this summer. 7, that’s a tough deal for Utah or Phoenix, who are hoping to put together a deep runs for the first time with these groups. Feb. 9: The Philadelphia 76ers' Furkan Korkmaz dunks against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. The 76ers and Bucks should be the East favorites because of both but we've all seen where their coaches have cost them postseason series. It’s not inconceivable that they could fall to the No. 5 in the West. Feb. 2: The Los Angeles Clippers' Paul George dunks against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at Barclays Center. IM 36!!!!! Posts. Iseman: I think it’s certainly possible, especially considering teams like Portland and Dallas have begun playing real well amid the Lakers’ struggles. ​Owczarski: Speaking of chemistry, that is coming together in Milwaukee now that Holiday seems to be at near full-strength after  a bout with COVID-19. Je'Rod Cherry joins the show to give us some insight on if Baker Mayfield could be the franchise QB the Browns need. I literally just ran through the highest-scoring teams in NBA history last night for an upcoming piece at The Journal-Sentinel, and only a handful won a title that year. Now, they're locked in. As Barnes, Evans said, Holiday is older. He's turned into a wild card mentally. Feb. 15: The Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert dunks against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Fact or fiction: Lakers-Nets is the most fun Finals matchup. So it's a tossup but it'll be a fun one to see unfold. Marc Gasol, Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers. April 8: The Chicago Bulls' Daniel Theis dunks the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the second quarter at Amalie Arena. James, Lakers beat Nuggets in Game 5 to reach NBA Finals. Jan. 2: Hawks center Clint Capela (15) slams it home over Cavaliers defenders JaVale McGee (6) and Dante Exum (1). Jan. 12: Nets forward Kevin Durant jams it home against the Nuggets. Make a Meme Make a GIF Make a Chart Make a Demotivational Flip Through Images. The Aaron Gordon addition should work out great for them. On today’s podcast, our hosts Christian and Anthony discussed how much closer the trade got the Nets to the Lakers in the NBA title race, if at all. And I like Berry’s point about playing a really difficult first-round series. Visit ESPN to view the Los Angeles Lakers team stats for the 2020-21 season. Feb. 10: The Brooklyn Nets' DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the first half at Barclays Center. See All. Chemistry won't be an issue with Brooklyn. March 1: The New Orleans Pelicans' Josh Hart (3) dunks against the Utah Jazz during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. ​Tramel: It sure seems like the Nets are the class. That’s the simplest way to put it,” Vogel said recently. March 2: The Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal dunks against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second quarter at Capital One Arena. ​Iseman: These situations are always hard to predict, but I can't see Giannis going anywhere anytime soon. April 20: The Atlanta Hawks' John Collins dunks against the Orlando Magic at State Farm Arena. Feb. 24: Lakers forward LeBron James (23) soars down the lane to finish the slam over Jazz defender Rudy Gobert (27). Jan. 30: The Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton (22) dunks the ball in front of the Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic during the first quarter at the American Airlines Center. He’s missed so little time over his career, will this long break make him even more fresh, or is this the first sign that he indeed might be human and susceptible to the same aging rigors that afflict most NBA players? S not inconceivable that they could fall to the lineup until the end of april after suffering a right... 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