The Los Angeles Lakers may be the favorite to win the NBA Championship, a feat they accomplished this past season behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They may have to take down a new power out of the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets, who roll out one of the best offensive trios we've ever seen, in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.
When all three play together, which has only been a few times since the trade for James Harden, the Nets post some historic offensive numbers. LeBron James respects what they bring to the table, but he does think some of the talk around the team is premature, especially when it comes to their place in the pantheon of offensive juggernauts.
"Um, have we forgot about KD, Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) already?" LeBron said last night, after L.A.'s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, when asked about his upcoming game with the Nets. "I mean, there you go. There you go right there."
He's very familiar with that old Golden State Warriors club. His Cleveland Cavaliers teams faced the franchise every year in the NBA Finals from 2015-18, the last two of which came with Kevin Durant on the Warriors. He won back-to-back NBA Finals MVP awards in 2017 and 2018.
The Brooklyn Nets trio may ultimately prove to be an equal or greater offensive force than the vintage Warriors clubs, but we do not have a huge sample size yet. The three have only played together seven times so far, going 5-2. The team also has some significant defensive concerns, while the Warriors had two top defenders in Durant and Klay Thompson among their three offensive dynamos, as well as one of the best defensive players in recent NBA history in Draymond Green.
Thursday night's game will garner plenty of attention, but neither team is currently at 100-percent. Anthony Davis remains out with an Achilles injury for the Los Angeles Lakers, while Brooklyn has been without Kevin Durant (hamstring) and last night, missed Kyrie Irving (lower back). After falling behind to the Phoenix Suns 73-49, the Nets rallied back for an impressive 128-124 road win behind Harden and the role players. Durant and Irving may be able to go Thursday. We'll see if we finally get game No. 8 with all three Nets stars.
The Nets and Lakers tip off at the Staples Center at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday night.