LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — After every twist and turn in LeBron James’ four-season soap opera saga with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Anthony Davis, one truth remains abundantly clear.
This is a championship-caliber partnership when James and Davis are healthy.
The three seasons since the 2020 bubble championship have been accompanied by injuries to one or both of their superstars, and it has made it incredibly difficult for the Lakers to get back into contention. The entire roster around him has completely changed since that in-ring, but James and Davis are still here, still fighting.
Now both are healthy again at the same time, and the rest of the NBA has been reminded of what happens when this dynamic duo can fly at full force.
James and Davis were at their peak as the Lakers put up a stellar effort with a 122-101 victory on Friday night to shut out the defending champion Golden State Warriors in six games.
When asked why the seventh-seeded Lakers found themselves four games out of the NBA Finals just three months after finishing six games below .500 and 13th in the Western Conference, James responded with his arrival around the trade deadline. Praised the front office for reviewing the roster. D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and Jared Vanderbilt.
But James quickly added a second reason: “Also, to stay healthy. We weren’t as healthy as we wanted to be, but we still played some good basketball to get into position after the break.”
LeBron and AD have won six of their seven playoff series together, losing only when Davis was injured in the first round against Phoenix in 2021. The Lakers are 95-49 when James and Davis play together, and this postseason has been a perfect example. what can they do.
They are coming off an extremely disappointing 2021-22 season, missing the playoffs at 33-49, thanks to the firing of Frank Vogel and the arrival of Derwin Ham. Davis’ injury problems limited him to 40 games, while James played in just 56.
But these Lakers aren’t like those Lakers: Besides James and Davis, only Austin Reeves and great backup Wayne Gabriel remain on last year’s list.
“When you have guys like Braun and Eddie who have won championships, you always feel like you have an opportunity, especially with the roster that we have, the talent that we have,” Reeves said. Joe is an undrafted free agent who started. Role. , to stretch.
James had 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Game 6, and made impressive repeat plays that made anyone think the leading scorer in NBA history lost something at age 38.
Davis was no less impressive with 17 points, 20 rebounds and an increasingly athletic defensive presence that changed every opponent’s game plan.
Both stars are in great health heading into Tuesday night’s conference finals against the Denver Nuggets. Davis returned home Friday night after missing the end of Game 5 at Golden State with a head injury, and he’ll be ready to take on Nikola Jokic.