LeBron James: “This Is Not The NCAA Tournament”

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rsz usatsi 20680451 168388303 lowres

The Los Angeles Lakers overcame big odds to simply qualify for the 2023 Playoffs. They’ll face a similar uphill climb if they want to defeat the Denver Nuggets and advance to the NBA Finals, but LeBron James doesn’t sound like he’s in panic mode quite yet.

The Lakers entered the Western Conference Finals as the lower seed in the matchup, but expectations were high. Long behind them was their 2-10 start to the regular season, and they were able to defeat two tough teams in Memphis and Golden State to get to this point.

LeBron James Is Not Yet In Panic Mode

It hasn’t been a great start for Los Angeles. An impressive comeback attempt in Game 1 fell just short, and they surrendered a 10-point lead in Game 2. They are the road team playing in a tough environment in Denver, but an 0-2 hole in the playoffs is concerning for anyone.

While he understands the deficit, LeBron James knows that the series is far from over. The games will now shift to Los Angeles, where the Lakers play two home games and will attempt to even the score.

“What you take out of it is the fact that it’s not the NCAA Tournament. The first team to four wins. We have an opportunity to go home and play great basketball…until a team beats you four times, you always have a chance to come out of it. That’s the confidence that we should have.”

If there is anyone who knows about coming back from playoff deficits, it is James. He has played in more postseason games than anyone in NBA history, and has been on the winning side of some of the most impressive comebacks that we have ever seen.

The oddsmakers don’t like the chances for the Lakers. For the overall series, Los Angeles is now a +345 underdog next to Denver’s -425, but they’ll be favored by 5.5 points in Game 3 to at least make the series interesting.

The sound bite from LeBron James is just the latest in a series that has been full of them. Nuggets coach Michael Malone has had a series of quips for the cameras during his media sessions, namely after Game 1 when people were counting Denver out despite them being up 1-0. After Game 2, he told reporters to “put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday evening.

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