Lakers News: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Believes LeBron James Got Spark Back Following Trade Deadline
LeBron James, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lakers, Nuggets
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

During the 2020 Playoffs, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope stepped up as a starter after Avery Bradley opted out of the bubble and helped the Los Angeles Lakers capture their 17th championship.

A few years later, Caldwell-Pope finds himself back in the Western Conference Finals though this team suiting up for the same Denver Nuggets squad that lost to the Lakers that year. It must be bittersweet for Caldwell-Pope to have to face off against former teammates like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but that didn’t stop him from contributing to their first Game 1 loss of the postseason this year.

Although the shooting guard is no longer in Los Angeles, he made a bit of a bold statement earlier in the year when he said he didn’t seem that same spark in James as the Lakers were struggling.

Now though, Caldwell-Pope admitted that he watched every one of the Lakers’ games post trade deadline and believes that James was rejuvenated following the moves the team made, via Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports:

“He’s gotten it back,” Caldwell-Pope told FOX Sports. “I feel like it happened after the trade deadline. Just seeing them guys play, I watched pretty much every game. He’s just relentless. Just seeing him continuing to do what he’s doing at his age and the years that he’s been in the league, it’s truly amazing.”

Caldwell-Pope still maintains close relationships with James and Davis off the floor, but during this series he’s focused on trying to beat them:

“They’re my brothers, man,” Caldwell-Pope told FOX Sports. “At the end of the day, we’re brothers off this court. But right now, on the court, in this series we’ll save that brotherly stuff until after the series.”

James and Davis certainly did their part to try and will the Lakers to a Game 1 victory as the superstar duo combined for 66 points. However, the poor defensive effort cost them at the end as role players like Caldwell-Pope were able to do damage from both the painted area and beyond the arc.

After taking the first punch of the series, it’s up to James and Los Angeles to respond the right way in Game 2. There are obvious adjustments to be made –like rolling out a bigger lineup– but the overall attention to detail and intensity needs to be better as well. Should the Lakers take their second half effort into Game 2, there’s optimism they could split the road trip.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope compares LeBron James and Nikola Jokic

Between Nikola Jokic and James, fans are being treated to a colossal matchup between two of the game’s best players. Though they play different positions, Caldwell-Pope couldn’t help but compare how selfless both of them are.

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