The Los Angeles Lakers did not let a long layoff prevent them from a Game 1 victory in the Western Conference Finals as they defeated the Denver Nuggets, 126-114.
It was a continuation of their dominant play from the second round as the Lakers were able to lock up the Nuggets after the first quarter. Los Angeles’ combined size and athleticism bothered Denver as they were unable to get the same quality shots they were getting earlier in the playoffs.
Anthony Davis led the team in scoring with 37 points while LeBron James flanked him with 15 points and 12 assists. The dynamic duo simply overwhelmed the Nuggets frontline as they had an easy time getting to the rim and finishing within the painted area.
Even in Year 17, James has proven to be the best player in the NBA come postseason time. His 2019-20 season was also nothing to scoff at as he averaged 25.3 points, 10.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Despite his renaissance year, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was rewarded with his second consecutive MVP Award. Results revealed that James only 16 first-place votes.
“It pissed me off. That’s my true answer. It pissed me off, because out of 101 votes, I got 16 votes,” James said of MVP voting. “That’s what pissed me off more than anything. You know, not saying that the winner wasn’t deserving of the MVP.
“But that pissed me off. I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship, and now four times as an MVP. You know, like I said, I never came into this league to be MVP or to be a champion.
“I’ve always just wanted to get better and better every single day, and those things will take care of itself. But some things is just out of my hand and some things you can’t control. But it pissed me off.”
Although bothered about the result, James acknowledged that Antetokounmpo had a good year. “Giannis had a helluva season,” James said. “I can definitely say that.”
James went on to add he was content with the Lakers being one win closer to the NBA Finals. “I’m absolutely fine. Like I was pissed off at the results earlier when I saw it. I’m absolutely great now,” he said. “I’m going back to my room, drink some wine and sleep very well tonight.
“Let’s not get it twisted. I’m great.”
James was building momentum toward his fifth MVP prior to the season’s shutdown, so the hiatus was an unfortunate blow to his case. The league also seemed to settle the debate after it announced that the seeding games were not going to be taken into consideration for any regular season honors.
Vogel surprised about lack of vote for LeBron James
All year long, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has trumpeted James as the league’s MVP for his play throughout the year.
When asked about the voting results, Vogel admitted to being a little surprised how little support he got from the media. “A little bit, yeah,” he admitted. “You guys all know how I feel about it. To me, he’s the MVP of the league this year.
“No disrespect Giannis. Giannis had a great season. He’s a great player. What LeBron does for our team to me is unparalleled, to carry the threat of going for 40 at any point but leading the league in assists and quarterbacking our defense and driving our team to as many wins as we’ve had and our playoff success; to me, he’s our MVP.
“I understand how the voting goes, and quite frankly, our whole group and I’m sure LeBron would echo this, is focused on something bigger than any individual accolades. We have a mindset to compete for a championship. We’re in a position where we’re down to four teams, and that’s really where our whole focus is.”
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