Golden State Warriors superstar Klay Thompson finally has the matchup he’s been waiting for his entire life.
The Dubs secured their place in the second round of the NBA Playoffs with an impressive Game 7 road victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, April 30. Golden State’s reward for that win is a showdown with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers that begins on Tuesday.
Thompson, whose father famously played for the Showtime Lakers in the mid- and late-1980s and who still works for that organization as a radio color commentator, spoke about the opportunity to take on one of the league’s premier franchises in a high-powered playoff matchup.
“It’s special. I mean, [we have] played LeBron in the [NBA] Finals four times. Obviously one of the greatest to ever play, and Anthony Davis is right there as well,” Thompson said. “Watching that last series against Memphis, it looks like they’re gelling and their guys know their roles … and it’s gonna be a huge challenge for us, but we’re all excited to play the Lakers. I mean, it’s a legendary franchise.”
“Warriors [and] Lakers, it’s been a long time since they’ve seen each other in the playoffs. I know I’m personally excited,” Thompson continued. “I get to play in front of my father, my mother, some of my best friends and go down to SoCal after our home stand, and it’s just a dream come true. I’ve waited for this for 12 years.”
Steph Curry, Steve Kerr Offer Thoughts on Squaring Off With Lakers
Steph Curry also offered his take on playing the Lakers in the second round after breaking an NBA record by scoring 50 points in the team’s Game 7 win on Sunday.
“They’re playing unbelievable,” Curry said in a postgame interview with Lisa Salters of ESPN. “All the pieces fit. It’s going to be a huge test for us.”
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr also spoke to the upcoming matchup during his own postgame press conference.
“The Lakers changed their team dramatically at the deadline,” Kerr said. “They’re excellent defensively [and have] one of the all-time greats in LeBron.”
Lakers Have Been Among Best Teams in NBA Since Trade Deadline Moves
Joining James and Davis in Los Angeles ahead of the regular season trade deadline by way of two different deals were Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba. The most notable exit from the Lakers’ roster was Russell Westbrook.
Somewhat ironically, the Warriors were the Lakers’ first opponent following the February 9 trade deadline. L.A. won that contest in Chase Center by a score of 109-103 on February 11.
The Lakers played and beat Golden State two more times before the end of the year, capturing the regular season series 3-1 after losing the season opener to the Dubs back on October 18. Los Angeles finished the year with an 18-8 record after the trade deadline, slotting them as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference with a record of 43-39, just one game behind Golden State at 44-38.
L.A. went on to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies in six games in round one of the playoffs. The Warriors open the series against the Lakers in San Francisco on Tuesday, May 2, at 10 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. WST.