The 2020-21 NBA playoffs have started, and there are several teams in with a strong chance of winning the finals that are to be played in July. Could one of the teams from California grab the title this year?
The Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers started the playoffs with a 109-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns, with Anthony Davis the leading points-scorer with 34. LeBron James once again led the assist total, with 9, while Andre Drummond picked up 12 rebounds.
This put the overall series to 1-1, after the Suns had triumphed 99 to 90 in the first game. Last year, James demanded respect for himself and for his team after he had led the Lakers to their first NBA Finals Championship trophy in a decade.
If the Lakers win this year, they will finally push ahead of old rivals the Boston Celtics in the all-time records, as it will be their 18th triumph compared to 17 by the Celtics. They are certainly among the favorites to win the trophy again this year, although much of that will probably come down to how well the inspirational James plays.
The first two games were played in Arizona, so the Lakers should feel pretty confident about heading back to Los Angeles for the next couple of encounters. With Chris Paul an injury doubt for the Suns, the Lakers will be looking to build up an early advantage.
The Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are in their third consecutive postseason, but has got off to a poor start. Matched against the Dallas Mavericks, they have lost their first two games of the series in California.
The first game ended 113-103 with the Clippers getting out-scored in every quarter. Among the few bright spots was Kawhi Leonard getting 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Their second contest was more of a see-saw affair that the Mavericks eventually won by 127-212. Leonard again led the team’s points scoring with an impressive 41, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the defeat.
These team head to Texas for the next couple of games, which could be decisive in seeing who gets through to the next stage.
The Golden State Warriors
One team from California that won’t be winning the playoffs this year will be the Golden State Warriors. Despite being ranked as the 8th seed following the end of the regular season, they missed out on the playoffs when the Memphis Grizzlies beat them 117-112 in the play-in tournament.
This marked the second successive year that the Warriors have had the disappointment of missing out on the playoffs. However, the good news was that there were signs of improvement over last season. Talisman Stephen Curry became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and the Warriors are confident of re-signing Curry and going again next season.
The Sacramento Kings
Another name missing from the NBA playoffs this year, the Sacramento Kings had a disappointing season in which they finished 5th in the Western Conference Pacific Division. Highly varying performances saw them rack up the worst defensive rating in the entire history of the NBA while also looking quite impressive at other times.
Luke Walton will remain in the role of head coach and will be looking to get the team to add some much-needed consistency next season. It seems that improving the defense is going to be Walton’s biggest challenge.
A high position in the NBA draft lottery this year could be the key to fixing their defensive woes and aiming to beat their playoffs hoodoo next time around.
There you have it, the most likely results for the California teams. The Lakers and the Clippers are the two still competing in the playoffs. If you enjoy NBA and you want to learn more about the competition visit website of TwinSpires Edge to find out more about interesting facts like the tallest players in history.