Stephen Curry has been a one-man show for most of the season leading the Golden State Warriors into a play-in matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers.
That said, the defending champs aren't taking the Warriors lightly.
"We're not going into this game thinking it's going to be easy. It's definitely going to be tough," Lakers star Anthony Davis told reporters Sunday.
The Lakers are listed as 6.5-point favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook, making them by far the biggest favorite of the four play-in games. Both teams enter Wednesday's one-game event red hot, with the Warriors winning six straight and the Lakers five straight to close out the regular season.
Curry has lit the NBA world on fire since the All-Star break, averaging 34.4 points while raining down a barrage of threes against helpless defenses. LeBron James gave Curry his endorsement for league MVP on Sunday.
"I mean, just look at what he's done this year," James told reporters. "I don't know anything else if you're looking for an MVP. If Steph is not on Golden State's team, what are we looking at?
"We get caught up in the records sometimes. We get caught up in the, OK, who has the best record, instead of just saying who had the best season that year. And Steph has had, in my opinion, the best season all year."
The Lakers will be far from their championship-caliber selves by Wednesday night. James missed 27 of the team's last 31 games with a high-ankle sprain that he seemingly tweaked in Sunday's win over the Pelicans. It's unlikely he's 100 percent at any point in the Lakers' playoff run. Davis has not been himself the entire regular season and missed two months with a calf strain before returning April 22.
The Lakers aren't taking the Warriors lightly in large part because they cannot afford it. They can't take any team lightly, because this is not the same juggernaut that overcame the odds in the NBA bubble. This is a defending champion quite literally limping into the playoffs, one that is facing near-insurmountable odds at repeating.
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