Lakers News: Stephen Curry Praises LeBron, Pressure to Beat Bucks, Dynasty Goal

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2021

Lakers News: Stephen Curry Praises LeBron, Pressure to Beat Bucks, Dynasty Goal

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Save for the occasional stumble, the Los Angeles Lakers are sharing near-nightly displays of basketball brilliance with the NBA community.

    It turns out having LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the same roster is pretty special. Who knew?

    Because the champs can cruise at such a high altitude, though, this group might actually learn more about itself on the rare moments when adversity strikes. That's why one of the Lakers superstars is stressing the importance of a mid-January matchup with an out-of-conference club.

    We'll break down that news note and more here.

Curry Holds LeBron James as Model of NBA Longevity

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    It makes sense that LeBron James is a wine connoisseur, since the King has stumbled on the same recipe for aging gracefully.

    The four-time MVP turned 36 in December. He's closing in on two decades in the Association. You know all of this already, of course, but it's good to remind yourself of his odometer reading because it's easy to forget when considering the pristine condition of his motor.

    He was an MVP finalist last season, which he punctuated with his fourth championship and fourth Finals MVP. He's currently co-piloting the best team in the business and is one of only three players averaging 23 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. This should not be possible, not even if you're of the belief he's actually a basketball-playing cyborg.

    "It's pretty impressive to see what he's doing at 36," Stephen Curry told reporters. Curry then touted James as the model for longevity in the league.

    When you can impress a revolutionary two-time MVP, you're probably doing something right. James has been doing a lot of things right for a very long time, and he's showing no signs of slowing down.

Lakers Feeling 'Pressure' to Beat Bucks on Thursday

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    There's no such thing as a measuring-stick matchup for the Lakers. Consider it one of the perks of being the reigning champs.

    Saying that, though, the Lakers are approaching Thursday's heavyweight bout with the Milwaukee Bucks—the East's top seed the past two seasons—with a heightened sense of urgency.

    It's not that there are extra stakes attached to the contest, but the Lakers want to course-correct after coughing up a 19-point lead in Monday's loss to the Golden State Warriors.

    "We know that teams are going to come out and play their best against us," Anthony Davis told reporters. "But the way we lost, we don't like. Obviously we have to look back at the film and see where we can be better, but we've always bounced back. We don't like losing two in a row, so our next game, we're going to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win that game."

    L.A's next losing streak will be its first of the 2020-21 season. Throw out a briefly lethargic three-game skid during the seeding portion of the bubble, and the Lakers haven't dropped back-to-back games since last January. Godspeed to the Bucks, in other words.

Kyle Kuzma Welcomes Dynasty Talk

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    The Lakers were kings of the hill last season, and they haven't encountered a serious threat to their position this time around. They aced the offseason by adding newcomers and extending both James and Davis, and they still probably haven't played their best, since there were multiple changes to the roster and there are a few up-and-comers working their way up the pecking order.

    Between the present dominance and the pieces already lined up for the future, there's been some dynasty talk around the team. While some might want to quiet the chatter, Kyle Kuzma is welcoming it with open arms.

    "We're trying to get to that plateau and peak to continue to win championships," Kuzma told reporters. "A tough, lofty goal, but I think that's what we all put out to do."

    Davis is in the heart of his prime, Father Time can't push James out of his and this supporting cast is loaded. That doesn't guarantee a dynastic run, of course, but it's easy to understand why Kuzma is so bullish about the future for the franchise.