The Los Angeles Lakers are finally set to take the court for their season opener which means the LeBron James era officially begins. The NBA schedule-makers did the Lakers no favors as they begin on the road to take on Damian Lillard, C. J. McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers.
In addition to having to face one of the most lethal backcourts in the NBA today, the Blazers have also won 17 straight home openers. Coincidentally, the last team to beat Portland in their home opener was the Lakers back in 2000.
James knows that he and his new team are in for a challenge on Thursday night and spoke about what makes Portland such a tough team to beat at home, via Lakers’ YouTube channel:
“I think it starts with their fans. Their fans are die-hard, loyal. And it ends with their team. They start very well and play very well at home.”
James also spoke very highly of that Trail Blazers backcourt, placing Lillard and McCollum amongst the best the league has to offer:
“They’re two of the toughest one-two punches that we have in our league as far as point guards and shooting guards. Obviously, you put Klay and Steph at the top, then Dame and C.J., you’ve got John and Brad Beal, and a couple other guys as well. They’re just as tough as anybody.”
The duo certainly dominated the Lakers last year, averaging a combined 56 points while hitting 50 percent of their 3-pointers. The Lakers will have to be locked in if they plan on overcoming a Blazers team that brings back the majority of its roster that finished with the third-best record in the Western Conference.
This is the beginning of a new era of Lakers basketball, and James understands that the team will need to be firing on all cylinders to start their season with a win.
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