When the Los Angeles Lakers played the Milwaukee Bucks before the NBA shutdown last year, it was widely viewed as a preview of the NBA Finals. While the Bucks could make an NBA Finals runs this year, their matchup with the Lakers on Wednesday doesn’t have nearly as much hype around it. Why?
For starters, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have already been ruled out with injuries. But the biggest reason is that there’s a new threat in the Eastern Conference: the Brooklyn Nets.
Since the Nets paired James Harden with their superstar tandem of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in January, they’ve gone 25-9, which is the second-best record in the NBA in that span, trailing only the Utah Jazz. And the most impressive part of the run the Nets are on? Their superstar trio has only played seven games together.
The Nets are good and they promise to be even better when Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge get settled into the team. And yet, Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ governor, is as confident as ever in her team.
During an interview on “Stephen A’s World” on ESPN+, Buss said that she’s excited to see how her Lakers stuck up against the Nets (via Royce Young of ESPN):
As the defending NBA champions have watched a superteam on the East Coast load up and stack former All-Stars to its roster, Los Angeles Lakers CEO and president Jeanie Buss views what the Brooklyn Nets have done in a simple way: “Bring it on.”
“It brings out the best in us,” Buss said Monday on Stephen A’s World on ESPN+. “When teams identify us as the team to beat and they gear up to go at us head-to-head, that makes us work harder.
“So, bring it on.”
Buss has every right to be as confident as she is in her team. Not only are the Lakers the reigning champions of the NBA, but they were one of the most dominant teams in the NBA before James and Davis went down with their injuries. The team also just signed Andre Drummond, a two-time All-Star in the prime of his career, to shore up their center position.
The Nets may be the NBA’s new shiny toy, but make no mistake: the Lakers are as big of a threat as the Nets are and they’ve proven they have what it takes to be the last team standing. Hopefully, we’ll get to see them go head-to-head in the Finals.