Every organization dreams of having a dynasty team like the one the Golden State Warriors had from 2015 to 2019. In those five years, the Warriors made five NBA Finals appearances — four of which were played against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers — and they won three of them.
Now, due to a combination of player departures and injuries, it’s the Los Angeles Lakers that sit atop the Western Conference and have ambitions of repeating as NBA champions, but they still have utmost respect for the Warriors, who they’ll host at Staples Center on Monday.
“I wouldn’t say we took over for the Warriors,” Anthony Davis said after practice on Sunday. “The Warriors one three out of four, or something like that. We haven’t accomplished that yet, but I think whoever the defending champions are kind of hold that standard that each team wants to become and we have that target on our back this year; of teams trying to match up to beat the Lakers. It comes with the territory when you’re holding the title.
“We’ve been doing a great job of continuing to do what we do and get better at what we do to hold that title and keep it here in L.A., for this season. But every night you’re going to get the other team’s best shot and we’ve seen that a lot this year with our team.”
The Lakers will have that target on their back as long as Davis and his superstar teammate LeBron James are in Los Angeles. They’ll also have championship aspirations as long as Davis and James are under contract, but Davis thinks it’s best for himself and the team if they stay grounded in the present.
“Once you start looking too far into the future, you start getting blinded by what’s in front of you,” Davis said. “We talk about this year, how good of a team we have and trying to repeat — that’s our only thing this year. And then next year, we’ll worry about next year, and the following year, and then I think he’ll be done with his contract.
“We just try take it year-by-year and try to figure out what we can do to make sure we when a championship this year, and then after those years, we can look back on it and laugh and smile and joke about what we have accomplished.”
The Lakers and Warriors will tip-off at 7 p.m. PT on TNT.
Notes and Updates
- Kostas Antetokounmpo (right knee patellar tendinitis) and Jared Dudley (right calf soreness) are out.
- LeBron James (left ankle sprain) is questionable.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left ankle sprain), Anthony Davis (lower back tightness) and Wesley Matthews (right Achilles soreness) are probable.