Playing LeBron James in NBA West final is risky business – News Herald

LeBron James (pictured May 12) and the Lakers will face the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals starting May 16. (Ashley Landis – Associated Press)

A big debate in basketball will continue to be whether Michael Jordan or LeBron James was the better player. As long as we are still alive we could see both of them play first hand.

At this point, does it really matter which one was better? Can greatness end in one dead heat?

Jordan has six championship rings won over 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, but he tried full-scale professional baseball in 1993-1994 with the Birmingham Barons of the minor leagues, coincidentally with Terry. His career was interrupted because Francona was his manager.

Jordan retired after the 1997-98 season and did not retire after three years. He played two seasons with the Washington Wizards before retiring permanently at the age of 40 after the 2002-03 season. In his final season, he appeared in all 82 games and started 67 of them, averaging 20 points per game.

The Bulls’ championship reign ended in the 1997-98 season when Chicago eliminated the Utah Jazz in six games. Jordan was 35 years old. In Game 6 against the Jazz, he was a vintage Jordan. He played 44 minutes, scored 45 points and scored four steals in the Bulls’ 87-86 win.

James celebrated his 38th birthday on December 30th. He will pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on February 7, and will lead the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets on May 16.

Among all the achievements James has made throughout his long career over the past five years with the Cavaliers, the Heat, the Cavaliers again and the Lakers, this season is the story of how he carries a team, and most of all, a team. may tell .

The Lakers finished 11th in the West with a 33-49 record last season, missing out on making the playoffs. They started the season with a 2-10 record. It wasn’t until he beat the Timberwolves in the 77th that he went 39-38 that he hit .500.

The Lakers finished the regular season in seventh place in the West with a 43-39 record, beating the Timberwolves 108-102 in play-in games.

Admittedly, James is not a one-man team. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka pulled off some clever trades to sweep the team out of chaos, cleansing the inexperienced Memphis Grizzlies and transforming it into a team good enough to beat the Warriors in the conference semifinals. The Grizzlies (2nd) and Warriors (6th) were both top seeds.

Pelinka’s biggest trade was that of guard Russell Westbrook to the Jazz as part of a three-team deal with the Timberwolves. The Lakers have acquired guard D’Angelo Russell from Minnesota and Malik Beasley and Jared Vanderbilt from Utah. The Lakers sent Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones and a 2027 first-round pick to the Jazz.

The Lakers were 25-30 and 13th in the West when they traded Westbrook. The players Los Angeles acquired didn’t create a sensation like the Nets traded Kevin Durant to the Suns or the Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks, but the Mavericks even made it to the playoffs. No progress, Sans is done.

James had 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists as the Lakers defeated the Warriors 122-101 in Game 6 of the semifinal series.

The Nuggets are 53-29 in first place in the West, beating the Lakers by 10 games. gives him a 59.2% chance Denver will win his seven-game series.

LeBron James appeared in 278 games in the playoffs. He has a playoff record of 182-96, 135 double-doubles, 28 triple-doubles and four championship rings. Bettors beware.

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