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LeBron James move to the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason has made the Western Conference more competitive and his path to the NBA Finals much more difficult. He will have to beat the reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors, if he wants to make a ninth straight appearance in the NBA Finals.
Defeating the Warriors is not an easy task and James knows that better than anyone else. He has lost to them in three out of the last four NBA Finals. Now, he will face them before the NBA Finals and that is brewing a rivalry between the Lakers and the Warriors.
In an interview, Stephen Curry let it be known that to make it to the NBA Finals, the Lakers will have to get past the Warriors.
“There's a lot that's been made about the competition in the West and his eight straight Finals appearances and all that, but that just makes everybody raise the antenna up a little bit—including us. It's going to be fun for fans, playing [more] in the regular season and who knows in the playoffs. So the West obviously got stronger with LeBron but you've still got to beat us.”
Can James and the Lakers beat the Warriors? On paper, the Warriors have the advantage. They have a better roster and with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins, they will have five superstars in the starting lineup. Only a week ago, there were rumors of Cousins joining the Lakers.
There are a lot of new pieces the Lakers have acquired this off-season and it will be interesting to see how well they play together. Rajan Rondo, Javale McGee and Lance Stephenson will be joining the Lakers and while they are prominent NBA players, they aren’t considered superstars by anyone.
Both teams will play each other four times next season and that is going to be must watch T.V. Cousins is coming off of injury and we may not see him on the court for a while. So the Warriors won’t be seen at their best during the beginning of the season.
With the addition of James, the Lakers and the Warriors have the potential to become one of the best rivalries in the NBA. James has made the Warriors and the Cavaliers a rivalry to remember and he is set on doing that again with his new team, the Lakers.