The overwhelming majority of NBA fans and writers across the globe say that the Sideshow in South Beach will be seeing the Lakers next June, a sentiment with which I ultimately agree, though they have a tougher path to cross to get there. A resilient Celtics team coupled with the still talented Magic lurk in the shadows, ready to pounce on another shot to give Prince James and Company an untimely playoff exit.
Lets say Miami does in fact make it, and the trio finds a way to mix their talent cohesively to arrive at the NBA Finals. While some Laker fans are nervous at the possibility of such a collision, I’ve got five reasons fans instead should be foaming at that mouth for that match-up.
1. Sticking LeBron
While everyone here at Lakers Nation knows that only real kings wear rings, there’s no denying LeBron James is a great offensive player. He’s great defensively too, but let’s face it: no one is stopping the Mamba. While LeBron has torched offenses ever since his entry into the league, he shouldn’t expect the same this year with the Lake Show.
Ron Artest has quieted the doubters over the last year with huge playoff performances and stalwart defensive displays. In the Cavaliers showdown in Los Angeles this past Christmas, a game Laker fans would just as soon forget, Ron Ron played an excellent game on the other side of the ball in slowing James down. He forced LeBron to commit 7 turnovers and shoot 2 for 7 from behind the arc.
Viewing the game as one where the Lakers were not firing on all cylinders, it’s safe to say LeBron will face similar battles with Ron, especially since the ball will leave his hands more often in Miami than it did in Cleveland over the course of games. Artest proved to be a strong body that could defend the opposing team’s scorer, as noted by his playoff performances against the likes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant.
The Lakers also got a great deal better this offseason defensively with their addition of Matt Barnes. Infamous for his battle with Kobe during the Magic’s March battle with L.A., there is no doubt that Barnes will see valuable minutes guarding the NBA’s defending MVP.
Oddly enough, fans should find comfort that the Lakers’ craziest two players will be responsible for creating law & order on the court.
Next: Battle of the Bigs