LeBron James’ playoff LeFlops won’t be enough to beat the Nuggets

The best way to play a LeBron James flop? Have a Joker up your sleeve.

“Listen: To have the success that they had, as big as (Nikola) Jokic was – if you go back and look at that (Western) Conference Finals, the Lakers had no answer,” said former NBA guard Greg Anthony. now an analyst at Warner Bros. Discovery and NBA TV, told me this week. “If that continues to be the case, it’s going to be difficult for them to get a place on the show.”

Welcome to the NBA Playoffs, when Old Man’ Bron suddenly becomes the best actor in Hollywood. The Denzel of diving, the Pacino of free fall.

Consider this your friendly annual public service reminder that the Lakers are about to sign a 30-day lease at the free-throw line and challenge the NBA to raise its rent. Over their last 22 postseason games, including four against the Nuggets, the LakeShow have averaged 25.1 free throw attempts per 100 possessions. Their opponents, if you’re curious, went to the score 18.5 times.

Justice is blind. Zebras too. It is best to keep loved ones and sharp objects at a safe distance.

“Look, if you’re Denver, I wouldn’t be concerned about the (Lakers) whistle, or anything,” Anthony said. “(The Nuggets are) the defending champions. “We beat this team. We swept them in the conference finals, no matter what the whistle was. You have to feel like you have a better game.

“And so, I think, that has to be the mindset. You can play games with the officials to try to (gain an advantage) and be somewhere else or create a different (advantage), but ultimately you have to go out and perform.

You want the truth? Oh, Jack Nicholson, we can handle the truth. It’s the whistles that drive us crazy. King James committed 59 fourth-quarter fouls in the combined playoffs of ’20 and ’23. Twenty of those 59 came against Denver. In just nine confrontations.

“I don’t know if (the Lakers whistle) is a myth,” mused former NBA guard Jamal Crawford, now an analyst at Warner Bros. Discovery. “I haven’t heard that (statistic) exactly.

“But obviously, (with) a guy like LeBron, the playoffs are going to be a little more physical. But you have to guard him with a wall and you have to be willing to concede… is it, “OK, we’re going to make LeBron try to get 50 today?” Or again: “We will take everything and force others to fight us. »

“He’s one of the great minds we’ve ever seen in basketball. You could also put Joker in there now. Even if you try to make him do something, he can always counter it. It might not be quite the level he wants or quite the level you want, because you’re playing that chess game in the game.”

At 39, even though he has lost a step, Bron still knows when to move his bishop. Since 2019, James has fouled every 6.39 minutes in a second-half playoff game against the Nuggs. In the fourth trimester? Once every 4.75 minutes.

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