The reward for the Lakers knocking off the Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs is a match-up with...Steph Curry and the defending champion Warriors. The path was never going to be particularly easy as a seventh seed, but the Lakers are going to have to deliver the knockout blow to Golden State.
And certainly the most compelling storyline is going to be LeBron James and Steph Curry reigniting their rivalry once more and for the first time in the Western Conference. All eyes are going to be turning to California for the coming weeks in what is surely going to be a fascinating showdown.
The Lakers and Warriors are going to be evenly matched heading into this series, one each with a superstar playing at an elite level. However, at the end of the day, one team is the defending champions with Curry and the other isn’t, which is enough to make them the early betting favorites.
According to our friends at DraftKings, the Warriors are the favorites to open with -155 odds to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers are +130 odds to dethrone the reigning champions.
All time, the Lakers are 24-11 in the playoffs against the Warriors, but it has been quite some time since the two teams met. The last meeting came in 1991 also in the Western Conference semi-finals when the Lakers won the series 4-1. A few things have changed since then.
LeBron and the Warriors last met in the 2018 NBA Finals, a series in which LeBron had a 51-point game...and Golden State swept the Cavaliers. All-time, LeBron is 7-15 against the Warriors in the playoffs, winning one of the four series against Curry.
This season, the new-look Lakers did win all three games against Golden State after the trade deadline, but none of those games featured LeBron. It’ll be an interesting match-up and a fascinating battle once more between LeBron and Steph with a whole lot on the line.