Los Angeles Lakers Still Championship Favorites

The NBA successfully soldiers on through COVID with most teams having played 20 games or more to date. The Los Angeles Lakers were everyone’s favorite for the NBA Championship in the preseason. That remains the case after their first 23 games.

The latest NBA Vegas betting odds price the Lakers as +260 favorites to go all the way and win back-to-back finals, something they haven’t achieved since winning three on the spin between 2000 and 2002.

The Lakers find themselves tied second in the Western Conference with LA Clippers, a mere 0.5 games back from high-flying Utah Jazz. Seventeen wins and six losses from the first 23 outings equates to a 0.739 winning percentage, a pace they can definitely keep up as is evident by the Lakers finishing 0.732 in 2020 when they won the Western Conference title for the 19th time.

LeBron James Staying In Form

LeBron James is now 36-years-old yet is showing zero signs of slowing down. If anything, James is getting better and better, much like how a fine wine improves with age.

James’ fantastic performance during the 114-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets showed his class. “King James” had 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in the 114-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Incredibly, this was the 96th triple-double of James’ illustrious career.

The four-time NBA MVP has scored 49.6% of his field-goal attempts and 40.9% of his three-pointers. Add into the mix 7.8 rebounds per game, 7.7 assists, and 3.5 turnovers and you see why people are still raving about one of the best small forwards to have ever stepped foot on a basketball court.

He is now third in the NBA’s career field goals list. Only Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Lakers legend Kareem Adbul-Jabbar have more. James trails Malone by approximately 800 field goals, although Abdul Jabbar’s 15,837 field goals are way out of James’ reach.

James has had the high points in 13 of the Lakers’ 23 completed fixtures so far. He went on a scoring tear in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers, getting 21 of his incredible 46 point total with an array of bamboozling shots and plays that James is famous for.

With James in this sort of form, you are hard-pressed to look past the Lakers for NBA glory this season.

Doubts About The All-Star Game

James must be delighted with his current form but he’s far less happy with the decision of NBA officials to hold an All-Star game amid a compressed regular season and while the world is still in the grip of a pandemic.

His interview after the win over the Nuggets was the complete opposite of what you’d expect after yet another impressive performance.

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star game this year. I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star game, but it’s the agreement that the Player Association and the league came about.”

Initial plans were to not hold an All-Star game so the players could enjoy a much-welcomed break for five days. Those plans were dashed and an All-Star game is taking place in Atlanta on March 7.

“It’s pretty much a slap in the face,” James said, “We’re still dealing with a pandemic, we’re still dealing with everything going on and we’re going to bring the whole league into one city that’s open.”

James went on to confirm that he will attend the All-Star game if selected, but he’ll be there physically not mentally.