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Kevin Durant talks about matching up against the Lakers

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The two-time Finals MVP sounds impressed with what Los Angeles has done.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have started to put things together, perhaps more quickly than most people expected. Despite losing four of their last six games, the Lakers are 19-14, and just three and a half games behind the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference standings.

Count Kevin Durant among those impressed with LeBron James’ new team. Following Saturday’s victory against the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant was asked about Golden State’s Christmas Day opponent, and he was quite complimentary.

“Just playing fast man, playing fast. Just energetic basketball. . . Obviously LeBron is a force, on both ends of the floor, with his strength, his passing ability, and his scoring ability, it just opens it up for everyone else. And I feel like Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma, and JaVale [McGee] . . . those guys have grown and gave them some great minutes . . . Kyle Kuzma’s able to be that second guy behind LeBron, so we got our work cut out for us.”

While Durant’s words were definitely meant as a compliment, you could certainly argue that calling Kuzma a “second guy” is . . . well . . . a bit of a backhanded compliment to the construction of the team.

The Lakers and Warriors tip off at 5:00 p.m. PT on Christmas Day, on ABC and ESPN.