THERE'S not an iota of doubt that the Los Angeles Lakers are heavily favored over the Denver Nuggets as they play Game One on Saturday, Sept. 19, of their best-of-seven series for the National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference crown.
And the main reason for this is LeBron James, the best player on the planet today.
James is not only a man on a mission, so to speak. He is as obsessed as anyone wanting to hit a lotto jackpot in his desire to end the Lakers’ decade-long title drought.
By leaving Cleveland for Los Angeles, James wants an NBA ring in the West to add to his three in the East (two with Miami and one with Cleveland).
He is also driven as much to mastermind a 17th NBA crown for the Lakers.
At 35, time isn’t on James’ side. If he’s got to collect more glory amid the so-called lengthening shadows, it should be now.
So that while he failed to lift the Lakers to Lalaland in his 2018 debut—he didn’t have the right back-up to begin with—he seems set to accomplish it this time, given that he snared Anthony Davis to be his chief buddy, if not co-equal, in manning the cockpit controls for L.A.
OK, it can also be safely said somewhat that Denver’s answer to the James & Davis Show are the smooth-shooting Jamal Murray and the hard-to-check Nikola Jokic.
But then, what about Coach Dayong’s third-man issue in which, admittedly, the Lakers are way up front, thanks to the resurrected Rajon Rondo now tremendously helping James handle the point guard chores?
I don’t see Denver’s immediate antidote against Rondo, who can shoot and assist with the ease of a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat at the slightest opportunity.
So, to the Nuggets, good luck.
Meanwhile, I tip my hat off anew to Erik (not Mike) Spoelstra for steering Miami out of a 17-point shortfall yesterday for the Heat’s another astonishing 106-101 win and a 2-0 lead over the hard luck Boston Celtics in the East Finals.
Getting to be interesting.
Danny Barrozo sends his condolences to the loved ones of Honeygirl Singson-de Leon, the former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chief, who passed on at 74 on Friday. Our sympathies, too.