While there are many reasons why the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves up 2-0 over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, what it ultimately comes down to is that Anthony Davis and LeBron James have been the two best players on the court.
Game 2 was more of the same from the opener, as Davis and James were simply unstoppable. Davis finished with 32 points and 14 rebounds, while James scored 33 points to go along with nine rebounds and nine assists as the Lakers beat the Heat 124-114.
With two straight dominant performances the comparisons to other great duos are sure to come and being on the Lakers means the obvious one to the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
“Obviously being in high school, watching the Kobe-Shaq duo was the most dominant duo that I have personally seen in my life from a basketball perspective. Obviously we knew the force that Shaq brought to the table, but the elegance and force that Kobe played with, as well,” James said.
“They were very dominant in what they did on the floor, on both sides of the floor. So to be in the conversation with those two guys, myself and A.D., is just very humbling, because I know I grew up watching those guys.
“I grew up admiring Kobe, a kid coming straight out of high school. Admired that, as a kid when I was young, and obviously got the opportunity. And the force that Shaq played with. It’s very humbling that we can be even mentioned with those greats.”
There are very few times when two of the five best players are on the same team, but that is exactly the case with these Lakers. Either James or Davis is liable to turn in a dominant performance in any game and when both are on that level, the Lakers are basically guaranteed a win.
The same could be said when O’Neal and Bryant shared the court together. In the 2001 playoffs, Shaq averaged 30.4 points and 15.4 rebounds while Kobe averaged 29.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists. It seemed like on a game-by-game basis the two decided who would be the primary scorer on that night.
“Those two guys are obviously special. They are a duo that’s special together, they are the best duo we’ve seen. Multiple championships. They both were so dominant,” Davis said.
“They both had a competitive spirit with themselves to will their teams to win. I think me and ‘Bron are the same way. We are two guys who want to win no matter the circumstance. We both want to make sure that we do whatever it takes to help our team win.”
James and Davis became the first Lakers teammates with 30-plus points in an NBA Finals game since Bryant and O’Neal accomplished the feat in 2002.
LeBron, A.D. thriving behind no jealousy
The chemistry that is shared between Davis and James has been evident from the beginning of the season. The two have been on the same page with no semblance of any issues between them and LeBron believes he knows why.
“We’re not jealous of each other. I think that’s the best thing,” LeBron explained. “In professional sports, you have guys that join forces to become alpha males. That’s what they call them.
“I believe jealousy creeps in a lot. And that is the absolute contrary of what we are. We know who we are, we know what we’re about. We want the best, seriously, every single day, both on and off the floor, for one another. We’re just not jealous of one another. I think that you align that with respect, I think the sky’s the limit.”
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