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Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during a game against the Orlando Magic on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Gary Coronado /Los Angeles Times/TNS)

This article contains opinion.

 

The NBA playoffs are about to begin, and come playoff time, we will see the end result of some of the season’s biggest storylines.

 

LeBron and the Lakers Calling the Season Quits

When arguably the best player in basketball decides to take his talents to that of the Los Angeles Lakers, that comes with a variety of expectations and pressure. 

When basketball savant LeBron James made his decision to commit to the Lakers in last year’s offseason, many experts and fans had the LeBron-led team easily making playoffs. 

This was based on the almost religious trust that LeBron could take any team and compete after taking the underwhelming 2018 Cleveland Cavaliers squad to the NBA finals. 

This season has not lived up to those expectations, sadly. 

In typical LeBron James fashion, he, along with general manager Magic Johnson, made a mid-season push to acquire star talent Anthony Davis. After failing to land him and dealing with countless injuries, the Lakers fell from being the fourth seed in the West to out of the playoff picture. 

With no hopes of making a playoff run, the Lakers appear to be electing to rest James for the remainder of the season. With a star-studded class of 2019 free agents, hopefully L.A. can add some talent to this underachieving squad.

LeBron can’t do it on his own, so hopefully someone can bring the talents to the West coast to help “The King.”

 

The Beard vs. The Freak

This year’s MVP race has been a two-man race between the Rockets’ James Harden and the Bucks’ Giannis Antentakounmpo. 

Both are elite talents in their own respects. Each player has positioned his teams in strong playoff positioning, as the Bucks have the best record in the NBA, and the Rockets are currently fourth in the Western Conference playoff picture. 

It has been neck-and-neck between both players with many analysts unable to definitively decide a winner. 

Harden has inarguably been the best offensive player this season and has averaged more than 40 points over the past 40 games. He is currently leading the league with 36 points per game. 

History is on the side of the Greek Freak, as more than 90 percent of the League MVP awards have been given to the player who has played for the better team. 

It will be hard to tell who will have the edge come voting time. Both players are superb talents and are deserving of this accolade. It will truly be an interesting night to see who will take home the hardware of league MVP come the end-of-season awards.

 

The Unexpected Playoff Threat

With the NBA season coming to a quick close, the playoff picture has become fairly clear as to who is in or out. 

There is one team that many have overlooked:  the Portland Trail Blazers. 

This team has been phenomenal for most of the season as they are currently seeded third in the Western Conference. It has a phenomenal guard tandem consisting of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. 

Along with this dynamic duo and even after the devastating injury to Jusuf Nurkić, they have Enes Kanter, who is a monster on the boards. The Trail Blazers historically have been a team that loses in the second round and does not receive a lot of attention in a star-studded Western Conference. But with a tight Western Conference, Rip City might become the benefactor of good matchups, as many think the Nuggets, Rockets and Thunder all could potentially give the Warriors a run for their money. 

It will truly be interesting to see if Portland can shake things up.

 

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