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LeBron James, Lakers

Of all the new takes Skip Bayless has fired off in his life, those supplied in the previous couple of days needed to be the hardest for him to swallow. For months, Bayless had been backing the Los Angeles Clippers as the highest group within the NBA, because the group that may take down the Lakers and star participant LeBron James, the man Bayless has been tearing down on tv for years now.

Nicely, Bayless’s Clippers misplaced in devastating vogue to the Nuggets within the convention semifinals, coughing up a 3-1 sequence lead, which led Bayless to do one thing virtually unthinkable.

He congratulated James. He handed him this 12 months’s NBA trophy regardless of the necessity for the Lakers to drag off eight extra wins down within the league’s central Florida bubble setting earlier than they’re NBA champs. He ate crow.

“Congrats, LeBron, you simply prevented the one group that would’ve crushed you,” Bayless wrote. “YOU JUST WON YOUR 4TH CHAMPIONSHIP, MY MAN.”

Congrats, LeBron, you simply prevented the one group that would’ve crushed you. YOU JUST WON YOUR 4TH CHAMPIONSHIP, MY MAN.

— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 16, 2020

Nuggets Will Have a Say in Lakers’ Championship Chase

After all, the Nuggets may have one thing to say about that. Denver has been probably the most exceptional group within the postseason this 12 months, now twice falling behind of their sequence, 3-1, and coming again to win each instances, one thing that has not occurred in NBA historical past. They withstood a scoring onslaught from Utah’s Donovan Mitchell within the first spherical and wanted two main second-half comebacks to win Video games 5 and 6 in opposition to the loaded Clippers, who entered the playoffs as the favourite to win the championship.

It’s only the second time in franchise historical past the Nuggets have reached the convention finals. By the use of comparability, James now has reached the convention finals 11 instances. However the Nuggets are taking all of that in stride, whilst they face the top-seeded Lakers, a group that beat them in all three video games they performed with James wholesome this season (the Nuggets received one with James injured).

“We’re not afraid of anyone,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone mentioned on Tuesday evening after Recreation 7. “And I believe we’ve confirmed that point and time once more.”

Malone did word simply how few individuals gave them an opportunity to get previous the Clippers, how predestined it appeared to have the Lakers and Clippers featured in an all-L.A. Western Convention showdown.

“So proud. All the fellows, by no means obtained down, believed in one another. Believed in themselves,” Malone mentioned, in keeping with ESPN. “In mild of all of the noise outdoors this sequence that we had no likelihood. We’ve got individuals guaranteeing it. We discovered a technique to beat a very good group 3 times. I’ve run out of issues to say.”

Is Bayless Organising LeBron James?

And maybe of all that is only a portion of a diabolical plot on Bayless’ half. As a result of the Nuggets usually are not seen as fairly the risk to the Lakers that the Clippers would have been, and since the High 2 seeds within the East—the Bucks and Raptors—have additionally been eradicated, Bayless has portrayed the Lakers’ path from right here as a rolled-out pink carpet.

He did that even earlier than the Clippers have been completed off. On Monday, earlier than the Clippers-Nuggets Recreation 7, Bayless additionally tweeted that James had a straightforward path to a title, declaring it a “cakewalk” as a result of the Clippers weren’t enjoying effectively.

CONGRATS, LEBRON: Seems to be such as you simply received your 4th championship. The Nuggets have now seized management of this sequence. Enjoying tougher, making EVERY SHOT. So now, Bron, you get to beat the Nuggets and the Warmth-Celts winner. CAKEWALK.

— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 13, 2020

That denigrates something the Lakers do from right here, establishing future wins as only a affirmation of what they need to have executed all alongside. By Bayless’s logic, they aren’t going to win, essentially, as a result of they’re a terrific group or James is a good participant—they’re going to win as a result of each different good group misplaced.

The Lakers have already got been handed the trophy, so there’s nowhere to go however down. If the Lakers ought to stumble, you’ll want to make word how rapidly Bayless and others pounce on them.

READ NEXT: Followers Shocked by Look Inside LeBron James’ Bubble Resort Room

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Charles Barkley guarantees Lakers will beat Nuggets, which is bad news for LA

Lakers fans are not going to be happy with Charles Barkley’s latest playoff prediction.

During Friday night’s “NBA on TNT” show, the Hall of Famer offered yet another bold “GUARANTEE” ahead of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Barkley declared the Lakers wouldn’t just win the series and advance to the NBA Finals — he believes they are going to dominate the Nuggets.

MORE: Predictions, picks, schedule for 2020 Western Conference finals

“I’ll bet every dime I got in the world on the Lakers this series. GUARANTEED!” Barkley said. “Seriously, I’m not even joking now, Allie [LaForce]. I’ll take, if [Nuggets coach] Mike Malone wants to cover it, I’ll bet whatever. Any amount of money I’m taking the Lakers. … If they want some motivation, I’m guaranteeing the Lakers [are] gonna kick their ass.”

Ernie Johnson later pressed Barkley on exactly how many games it would take for Los Angeles to eliminate Denver. Barkley didn’t initially feel confident enough to put his official stamp on a “gentleman’s sweep,” but it didn’t take long for Chuck to change his mind.

“I’ll tell you what, America, Lakers in five. GUARANTEED!” Barkley said.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Barkley’s “GUARANTEE” sticker has been the kiss of death throughout the 2020 NBA playoffs. As the TNT graphics team noted, Barkley has nailed only 13.7 percent of his big bets.

The Lakers and Nuggets have both made Barkley look silly this postseason. He picked the Trail Blazers to sweep the Lakers in the first round and chose the Clippers over the Nuggets in the conference semifinals, which prompted a sharp response from Jamal Murray following Denver’s Game 7 win.

“You got [Shaquille O’Neal], you got Charles, I think Zach Lowe’s his name … Stephen A. [Smith], all y’all better start giving this team some damn respect,” Murray said. “Because we put in the work. We shouldn’t have been down 3-1, but to come back down 3-1 against the Clippers is a big achievement, so it’s fun just to change that narrative.”

Being wrong won’t stop Barkley, of course. The “GUARANTEE” train will keep rolling. Just don’t expect it to turn a profit.

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