Michael Malone Wants LeBron James To Wear Down Before First Round Series: “It’s Year 21, And The Guy Is Getting Better…”

LeBron James

With just a couple of days to go before the first game of the NBA playoffs, Michael Malone spoke candidly on the competition and the kind of challenge that he expects the Lakers to give. On the subject of LeBron James specifically, Malone couldn’t help but mention his ridiculous longevity and how he continues to age like a fine wine.

“It’s year 21, and the guy is getting better. He had a career year from the three-point line. It’s really amazing when you sit back as a fan of the game, it’s really incredible. I hope he gets tired. I hope he wears down,” joked Malone, via Harrison Wind. “But I’ve seen no signs of LeBron James slowing down by any means and I think it’s gonna be another challenge for our group.”

Malone doesn’t actually wish the worst for LeBron James, but it would be an undeniable blessing in disguise if he were somehow compromised for the upcoming series. This season, through 71 games, James averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists, and 7.3 rebounds on 54% shooting. He’s been the best player on a Lakers team that’s been respectable in the West.

Last May, the Nuggets swept the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals but the series was competitive all the way through and many Nuggets players still make the case that the Lakers gave them the biggest challenge of all the teams en route to the Finals. No doubt, LeBron James and Anthony Davis had a lot to do with that.

This time, with pretty much the same players on both sides, the experts do not predict a win for the Lakers. In fact, many have already chalked the series up as a complete bust for Los Angeles given their current losing streak against Jokic and his team. It will take nothing short of a complete and focused effort to pull off a win in the series but the Lakers haven’t lost faith that they can make it happen.

LeBron James Is Not Done Yet

After 20 years in the NBA, LeBron James is ready to admit that the end is near for his storied basketball career. As a 4x champion, 4x MVP, 20x All-Star, and 19x All-NBA player, James has accomplished pretty much everything in the NBA. And yet, even now, he’s still going like a man who has something to prove.

This season was one of his finest yet for the Lakers and he managed to stay in good health for most of the way through with 71 games played. While it was not enough to land the Lakers a better position in the West, we’ve already seen what they can do if given even a slimmer of a chance in the post-season.

For Michael Malone and the Nuggets, they’ve seen LeBron’s greatness too many times already to underestimate him. Even in his current state, the King is capable of swinging a series on his own and the Nuggets will need to exercise caution if they are to eliminate his squad for the second year in a row.

With Game 1 set for Saturday, it won’t be long now before LeBron and the Lakers will have their chance for revenge but the task of beating this team is unlikely to prove easier than it did in 2023, when they went 0-4 against them when it mattered most.

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