The Rivalry That Will Define A Legacy
My Christmas was ruined yesterday.
The Lakers dominated the Clippers for most of the game.
But then Kawhi Jordan happened to the tune of 35 points.
LeBron started getting hot and had the opportunity to send the game to OT.
Then Pat Bev happened.
He blocked LeBron's potential game-tying shot, securing the Clippers win on Christmas, and keeping the Lakers winless against the other LA team. In the grand scheme of things, the matchup on Christmas was pretty meaningless. It was another regular-season game. But yesterday proved something to me, and LeBron can try to deny it and downplay it all he wants, but no sir, you can't escape this one.
The LeBron/Kawhi rivalry is as deep as it gets, and I love it.
LeBron and Kawhi are battling for something much more than just King Of Los Angeles. They are fighting for King Of This Generation. Both of their legacies are on the line here, unfortunately, one more than the other.
And Kawhi knows it.
He showed it with his urgency last night, dropping 14 in the first quarter.
He showed it all game as he willed his team with clutch bucket after bucket in the fourth quarter, never letting the moment phase him on his way to 35 points.
Hell, look back three months ago, he showed it opening night by giving the Lakers 30. Kawhi knows what this matchup means.
But does LeBron?
In two games against the Clips, LeBron has 41 points compared to Kawhi's 65.
He's looked passive throughout both games, and most importantly, he's taken two Ls. Maybe he truly doesn't view Kawhi and the Clippers as a rivalry? Or perhaps he doesn't understand the gravity of this situation? Well, if he doesn't let me break it down.
Come late May, if and when the Lakers and Clippers meet in the playoffs, all the chips are on the table, it might as well be the NBA Finals. EVERYTHING is on the line.
The first championship of the new decade.
The city of Los Angeles.
And most importantly, LEGACIES.
The winner of this series will go down as the greatest winner of our generation.
Both Kawhi and LeBron have established themselves as players who can win anywhere as both have Finals MVPs with different teams. Both have won a championship off the back of the other (Spurs/Heat Finals). And now both are trying to do something that has never been done in NBA history: win Finals MVP with three different franchises.
Kawhi had a storybook 2019, and it positioned him perfectly.
He had one of the greatest playoff runs in NBA history. He beat the reigning MVP, and then he followed that up with the first Game 7 buzzer-beater EVER. He then topped it all off by delivering Toronto it's first NBA Championship, in his only season there. I don't think you can script a better year for an NBA superstar.
All of this has now put Kawhi in GOAT talks, and with KD being out, it's only one other player he competes with now. So if LeBron is still sleeping on this rivalry, he needs to wake TF up. Cus come playoff time, if Kawhi and the Clippers beat LeBron and the Lakers, Kawhi Jordan will become more than a nickname.
It'll become the new debate.
And no one's legacy will take a bigger hit than the Washed King.