The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-104 on Tuesday night.
After the outing, Lakers star LeBron James sat down for a session with the media during which he answered a variety of questions.
One particularly interesting response came early on, when he was pressed regarding his squad’s looming showdown against the Brooklyn Nets this week.
It will mark the first time he’ll face off against a group that, since the James Harden trade, has simultaneously become arguably the league’s scariest offensive team and least intimidating defensive team.
“LeBron, I’m going to jump ahead here and I’m everyone else has more questions about tonight but I think we’re not going to talk to you before Thursday,” the reporter began.
“Being a student of the game and looking at the collection of talent that the Brooklyn Nets have, is there a team that you can compare to in league history having that much offensive firepower on the same group?”
James didn’t miss a beat.
“Um, have we forgot about KD, Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) already?” James replied. “I mean, there you go. There you go right there.”
James is obviously extremely familiar with the Warriors teams he referenced in his answer. His Cleveland Cavaliers faced them on an annual basis in the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2018.
Although the Irving-Durant-Harden Nets are currently averaging 80.7 points per game, as compared to the Warriors’ highest ever average of 75.8 points per game, James’ message is obvious: pump the brakes a little on the historical comparisons.
Yes, the Nets clearly have an immense amount of talent on offense. No, it doesn’t mean anything yet, particularly when their own head coach admits they have at least one major weakness.
To be clear, James has a lot of respect for the Nets and the team’s stars.
“It’s always exciting for me to go against some of the best guys in the game, and they got three of them,” he said.
Klay knows how to do Valentine’s Day right. https://t.co/Gxt1gRLTX2
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 15, 2021
“They got three of the best guys in the game. Definitely would love to be full when you’re playing against a team like that and see, like, at that point in the season, how you match up, how you match up against some of the best teams in the league. And, obviously, we won’t be full on Thursday. But, other than that, yeah, I love going out there and just being out on the floor with some of the best to play this game.”
James has continuously played and beaten teams that theoretically have more on-paper talent than his. As such, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the new-look Nets don’t put much fear in his heart.
Now we know what motivates Steph to play so hard. https://t.co/LVXdFffc6b
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 13, 2021
That said, there is a chance that the Lakers will make some moves that make them a little better on paper, too. The team has been linked to a trade involving one of the most notable stars in the league, perhaps the NBA’s most consistent veteran three-point threat from the past decade, plus is a serious contender for not one, but two big name buyout candidates.
The Lakers will obviously be shorthanded when they face off against the Nets this week, but the teams will almost certainly be much more evenly-matched if and when they rematch down the line.