After a delayed start to the 2020-21 season, the NBA Playoffs are set to begin this week. Things will kick off on Tuesday with the first play-in tournament games, followed by more matchups as the postseason progresses. However, just because the playoffs are beginning now doesn’t mean that people aren’t thinking about which two teams will clash in the NBA Finals.
In fact, some fans and experts have been thinking about it ever since the Brooklyn Nets acquired James Harden at the start of the regular season. Before then, the NBA world was wondering if anyone could stop LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers from becoming back-to-back champions. But after they traded for Harden, people started pegging the Nets as the perfect team to stop the Lakers.
After all, who could possibly compete against a trio of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving?
While the Nets lived up to their expectations, finishing second in the East with a 48-24 record, the Lakers have done the opposite. They’re scheduled to battle the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game after ending the regular season at No. 7 in the conference. Now, Los Angeles’ path to the NBA Finals is much more difficult. With that being said, what are the odds that we’ll get to see a Lakers-Nets championship matchup?
Read on to see what Bovada has listed that possibility as.
Will the Lakers and Nets Meet in the 2020-21 NBA Finals?
Odds via Bovada as of Monday, May 17
- Yes (+625)
- No (-1400)
Los Angeles-Brooklyn Champion Final Unlikely
At -1400 odds, Bovada doesn’t anticipate that the Lakers and Nets will meet in this year’s NBA Finals. A lot of that probably has to do with how far the Lakers have fallen down the standings thanks to James and Davis missing significant time this season. Both men are back in the lineup now, but they’re certainly not 100%.
Another wrinkle in a potential meeting between the two teams is the fact that the Lakers have to go through the play-in tournament to start the postseason. While they’re favored to beat the Warriors, anything can happen in the NBA. If they end up losing, they’ll have to play against the winner of the 9/10 seed matchup to keep their playoff hopes alive. Plus, regardless of where they finish, the Lakers will either have to clash with the No. 1 Utah Jazz or No. 2 Phoenix Suns in the first round.
Meanwhile, the Nets could see a much easier path to the NBA Finals as the East’s No. 2 seed. Each of their potential first-round opponents has an exactly .500 record or worse. Secondly, the Nets really only need to worry about the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks when it comes to keeping up with their offense.
However, never say never in the NBA. Anything can happen and the Lakers’ top duo could return to full strength as the playoffs progress. It’s a difficult path to get there, but if we’ve learned one thing over the year’s it’s that you can never count out LeBron James.