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A trip down memory lane with Warriors vs key players on the new Lakers

L.A.’s new super team features hoopers who’ve suffered mightily at the hands of the Splash Bros Warriors

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are the betting favorite to get out of the West. They’ve revamped their team; with four members of the 2012 Olympic team merging together like the cast of The Expendables.

And I know I’m the weaponized joy super homer guy, but all my hometown hutzpah doesn’t make me blind to the fact that the Lakers are huge Monstarz who on any given night will bludgeon their opponents with size and physicality.

I’m already bracing for the amount of disrespectful barking they’re going to lay on opponents with Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony in the fold as LeBron James and Anthony Davis sneer in delight. You know Westbrook’s “rocking the baby” celebration? L.A. has hella players with the size to howl “MOUSE IN THE HOUSE” on mismatches, bullying their way through smaller, hapless opponents.

But as I went through the Lakers’ basketball reference pages, something dawned on me. Why should I be nervous here in the Bay? After all, aren’t the Lakers just a bunch of guys that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have made a career off of eliminating from the playoffs?

Russell Westbrook

Damn I thought Russ was Thunder gang for life just a minute ago!! What do you mean he’s no longer in Oklahoma City? Here’s a Forbes article from 4-6-2019 praising Westbrook’s unique loyalty to the franchise that drafted him, entitled “Russell Westbrook’s Loyalty To The Oklahoma City Thunder Is Historic”:

After Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City in free agency in the summer of 2016, Thunder fans had even more to worry about with Russell Westbrook’s contract nearing its end. Durant’s departure had everyone wondering if Westbrook would do the same and walk for nothing in return.

Coming off of an MVP award in the 2016-17 season, Russell Westbrook decided to stay loyal to Oklahoma City. On September 29, 2017, he signed a 5-year, $205M extension, earning the largest contract in NBA history. In a press conference following the extension, Westbrook elaborated on why he decided to stay with the Thunder long-term through the remainder of his prime.

I’m not gonna post his quotes from that day as clearly the future wasn’t what anybody in OKC expected. In the two years after that he’s been a Houston Rocket, a Washington Wizard, and now a Laker.

Shout out to the player empowerment era! Westbrook is getting financially rewarded for his prodigious basketball talents and brilliant work ethic, while going to play in the LA area where he’s from. That’s gotta be a dream come true for him and major inspiration for every kid in Los Angeles who has hoop dreams of their own. Shout out to Russ for being elite at his craft and uplifting the people. It’s bigger than basketball!

But let’s zoom back into basketball for a quick second and think about why he never won a title in Oklahoma City. Is it perhaps because Steph, Klay, and Dray’s Warriors slammed the door on those dreams? When was the last time Westbrook was in the conference finals? That’d be 2016 when he and Kevin Durant finished blowing a 3-1 lead to the 73-win Dubs.

Hmmm for anybody saying two of Steph’s rings don’t count because KD did the heavy lifting: Westbrook played with KD for seven years and didn’t win a title. Fascinating.

Rajon Rondo

If you had to pick memorable postseason moment between Rondo falling out of favor with the Dallas Mavericks fanbase in 2015 and his resurrection to prominence with the 2020 Lakers title team, wouldn’t these skirmishes with Draymond during the 2018 playoffs come to mind?

Those Pelicans were eliminated in five games at the might of the Golden Empire, but Rondo certainly made his presence felt, including a 21-assist effort in Game 3.

Anthony Davis

Before AD became an NBA champion with the Lakers in 2020, he spent seven seasons as a Pelican. Two of those years included playoff berths, with both of them being ended at the hands of the Warriors. Davis’ Pelicans went a combined 1-8 against the Warriors in those two playoff matchups with their lone victory coming in the aforementioned Game 3 with Rondo.

The most memorable moment from Davis’ Pelicans squaring off against the Warriors is this clutch bomb he received at the hands of the greatest shooter of all time:

Trevor Ariza

Ariza was a part of the 2015 Rockets team that the Warriors vanquished in five games to advance to the NBA Finals. I remember him most in that series from how the Splash Bros kept finding themselves near death in plays around Ariza.

He was also on that 2018 Rockets team that couldn’t hold a 3-2 lead over the Dubs and blew a Game 7 at home after missing an NBA record 27 straight three-pointers.

Dwight Howard

Don’t forget Superman was on two of those Houston teams the Warriors vanquished in 2015 and 2016! He’s the guy Harden passed to in this delicious game-ending sequence:

LeBron James

King James put a major dent in the Warriors playoff hopes last year in the play-in tournament when his three-point dagger over Curry gave the Lakers the breathing room they needed to boot GSW out of the 7th seed.

That must have felt pretty sweet revenge for LeBron as he’s been on the other end of so many threes that ruined his championship quests.

LeBron is 1-3 all time vs the Warriors in postseason play. Maybe, just maybe, this year the Warriors make that 1-4.

Poll

After reading this, how excited are you for the Warriors to play the Lakers?

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    Very excited! If the Warriors are healthy I think they are a problem for the Lakers
    (104 votes)
  • 19%
    Not excited! The Warriors are nowhere near the Lakers’ level and you’ve only angered LeBron by posting this! WHY DID YOU DO THIS?!
    (25 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now