LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers finally broke through against their crosstown rivals on Sunday. In their third meeting of the year against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers finally snagged a win and solidified their status as NBA title favorites.
Entering Sunday's contest the Clippers held a 2-0 lead in the season series. Even though they occupied second place in the Western Conference, some believed the Clippers were the NBA's true title favorites given their roster and the rest they've given their star players. That notion was smashed by the Lakers' 112-103 win.
Despite the Clippers' perceived depth and roster advantages, LeBron James and Anthony Davis (along with some help from Avery Bradley) were too much to handle. The Clippers simply had no answer for the Lakers' top two stars. James was brilliant, finishing with 28 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, while Davis added 30 points and eight rebounds. Bradley dumped in 24 points and hit six 3-pointers.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both played 37 minutes and performed well. Leonard had 27 points and two rebounds, while George had 31 points, six rebounds and three steals. But Leonard was a minus-17 and George was a minus-10. A number of rough outings by the team's supporting pieces dragged the two stars down.
The Clippers have the better bench and the deeper team, but James and Davis once again proved to be the NBA's best duo and that they can be an unstoppable force, even against the best competition. This weekend solidified what can happen when both of LA's superstars go to work.
The Lakers' two wins in the past three days proved they're the team to beat in the NBA. On Friday, they took down the mighty Milwaukee Bucks and on Sunday they bested the Clippers. That's a heck of a showing in back-to-back games.
Frankly, LeBron and the Lakers needed this win. Had they lost and owned an 0-3 record against the Clippers on the year, that would have been a tough hurdle to overcome mentally. Now they're riding high after a brilliant weekend sweep of two top teams.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and their Lakers are now clearly NBA title favorites after this past weekend and everyone else is chasing them.