The Lakers had a great weekend; they won against the Bucks on Friday and contained Giannis, and then last night, they beat the Clippers 112 - 103. Anthony Davis led the Lakers in scoring with 30/8/2, but it was LeBron James who again stepped up whenever the Clippers came close and finished the game with 28/7/9.
LeBron's performances against the Bucks and Clippers vaulted him back into the MVP conversation. A week ago, it seemed like Giannis is a lock for the award. Still, LeBron's defense on Giannis and Kawhi/George at times last night reminded everyone that he is probably the most complete basketball player ever. Patrick Beverly had an interesting comment on the challenge of guarding LeBron James.
“No challenge. No challenge...not hard at all.”
This mindset is a part of what makes Beverly who he is, but you don't need to give LeBron extra motivation when they beat you, and he has a fantastic performance. Truth be told, according to ESPN Stats & Info, research shows that none of James’ 17 shots came against Beverley. Still, we saw Lebron get to the rim at will and create plays for others - sounds like a challenge to me.
Beverly did credit the Lakers for the win, admit losing to the city rival stings a bit more, but said they just have to move on to the next game. As Charles Barkley predicted before the game, Anthony Davis was the biggest challenge for the Clippers defense, and it was apparent they don't have an individual matchup that would make AD think or work hard to get to his spots.
Still, at the end of the day, it was LeBron who orchestrated the entire team, and stopping him would go a long way for the Clippers. Maybe putting Beverly on him is Doc Rivers' secret plan for the playoffs. He did say it isn't hard at all.