In an age where superstars can be bought for as little as a first-round draft pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat have become the most feared duos in the entire National Basketball Association. With each frontcourt player possessing a skill set that is more than enough to dominate the competition on their own, the two teams have been able to perform at a level that has been unprecedented in recent NBA history. So, what is it about this pair of teams that has been able to offset the advances of the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Oklahoma City Thunder?
The NBA’s best team in the regular season is facing the league’s best team in the playoffs, and while some may have predicted a struggle between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors , the matchup is a true championship showdown between a pair of juggernauts. What a time to be a sports fan.
Kobe Bryant’s departure from the Lakers has left the Lakers with a gaping hole at the power forward position. With Tracy McGrady out of action, the team has turned to veteran power forward Antawn Jamison. The Lakers are also excited about the return of Robert Horry, who was limited to just eight games last year due to injuries. Antawn Jamison looked strong last season, averaging a career-high 16.9 points and a career-best 10.4 rebounds a night while shooting a career-best 49.9% from the field.. Read more about lebron james accomplishments and let us know what you think.
The first names that spring to mind when it comes to physical domination are LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal. No superstars have imposed their strength and physical abilities better than The King and The Diesel since the days of Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time MVP and reigning NBA champion, may be joining this list soon, but he still has a long way to go.
When you look back at LeBron’s and Shaq’s careers, it’s obvious that they are two of the top 10 players of all time. Naturally, as young players and subsequently as veterans of the game, both stars have had some great teammates. Which superstar would lead their roster of best teammates through a best-of-seven series? Both LeBron and Shaq have four NBA championships to their credit, but which superstar would lead their lineup of best colleagues through a best-of-seven series?
Steve Nash vs. Kyrie Irving
This is a fiercely fought battle with one of the series’ most volatile back-and-forth scenarios. Irving will have no trouble scoring against Steve Nash, who isn’t renowned for his defense or agility. Irving has a lifetime scoring average of 22.8 points per game and has the greatest ball-handling skills we’ve ever seen, as well as excellent clutch scoring instincts.
Nash isn’t as good as Irving at scoring, but he’s a superior shooter and facilitator. Nash will be charged with feeding O’Neal and Bryant in their preferred places, which is a whole different job than Irving’s. It’s an automatic bucket when Nash is open. These stars have varying degrees of influence on the game, but their total effect is almost equal.
Penny Hardaway vs. Dwyane Wade
Wade and Hardaway, as guys who like hitting the basket and pushing the action, bring a lot of athleticism to the table. Wade, who stands at 6’4″ and averaged 22.0 points per game throughout his Hall of Fame career, is one of the greatest slashers in NBA history. Wade is also Team LeBron’s greatest defender, and he’ll concentrate on limiting Kobe Bryant and sprinting on the break.
Penny is a unique talent for Team Shaq, standing 6’7″ and possessing excellent ball-handling abilities. Penny’s career three-point percentage was just 31.6 percent, and injuries cut short what might have been a Hall of Fame career. Penny will put a lot of pressure on Wade throughout the game, but “Flash” has the upper hand due to his elite defensive and slicing skills.
Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James
The battle between “The King” LeBron James and “The Black Mamba” Kobe Bryant is the most anticipated. Both players are regarded as the greatest of their generation, as well as the two stars who have come closest to matching Michael Jordan’s accomplishments as a perimeter player. Although James and Bryant are two distinct athletes, their combined effect will be significant. When it comes to attacking the basket, the King will be his typical battering ram self, as well as controlling his team’s offense.
Kobe will be his team’s unquestioned go-to scorer, and he’ll enjoy the chance to play LeBron James, a one-of-a-kind athlete. Bryant will attempt to get Kyrie Irving to defend him in the post and dominate with his fadeaway for the most part. On both sides of the court, Bryant will go after LeBron, making for a fascinating series battle.
Kevin Garnett vs. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis and Kevin Garnett, two of the most dominating power forwards in NBA history, will face off in the second-most anticipated game. Davis may be the best power forward in the league, with uncommon guard-like abilities in a center’s frame, while Garnett plays with unbridled zeal and aggressiveness.
Davis will outscore Garnett throughout the series, and his three-point shooting will compel Garnett to go to the outside often. Garnett will make Davis’ life difficult, and he will not be as effective as he usually is. The Big Ticket will also form the greatest paint combination with Shaquille O’Neal, and his defense will be a major reason why his team will be a force in close games.
Shaquille O’Neal vs. Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh was an 11-time All-Star and one of the greatest power forwards of his generation, but neither he nor Anthony Davis can stop Shaquille O’Neal from putting up video game statistics in this series. On defense, Bosh will make O’Neal uncomfortable with his shooing and deft dribble moves, which will push The Diesel out of the paint at times.
This contest, though, is all about Shaq. O’Neal will demonstrate why he is the most dominating big player since Wilt Chamberlain, and a determined and hungry 7’1″ machine will have no response. In the post, his combination with Kevin Garnett will be lethal, and he won’t mind if Kobe Bryant gets his shot attempts.
Advantages of LeBron’s Team
Team LeBron is designed to enable its stars to feel at ease in their roles. In terms of speed and space, Team LeBron has the ideal balance. Kyrie is one of the greatest ball-handlers we’ve ever seen, and he can dribble past Nash or Penny. Wade and LeBron are both masters of one-on-one scenarios, and they can count on Davis and Bosh to do the same. Team LeBron’s squad is excellent on the break and has go-to scorers, thus Team Shaq will be under a lot of pressure to be uncomfortable on defense.
LeBron James is also a member of Team LeBron. Steve Nash is a great playmaker who will have an effect on the game with his passing, but LeBron James, as a larger and more influential superstar than the Canadian, will be the ideal counterbalance. LeBron is his team’s greatest player, and he’ll have a huge influence on the series if he’s surrounded by superstar offensive players. Team LeBron is in perfect balance, with LeBron controlling the pace and generating plays for his clutch scorers.
Advantages of Shaq’s Team
On the court, Team Shaq has Hall of Fame players, but their greatest edge is their unbeatable combination. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant may be the greatest combination of all time, after Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. They are an ideal inside-outside force since any player can easily score 40 points regardless of the defensive opposition they face. Because Wade can’t shoot like Bryant and Davis can’t intimidate defenders like Shaq, Team LeBron doesn’t have this kind of scoring domination.
With Shaq and Kobe on the court, the game opens up for Penny Hardaway’s athleticism and Steve Nash’s sharpshooting. Nash is the greatest shooter in the series and a skilled facilitator who will feed Shaq or Kobe in their positions. Hardaway is a defensive force, but Garnett can make an impression as the series’ greatest defensive big man. In a word, Team Shaq’s advantage is Shaq and Kobe, an all-time great combination.
In a best-of-seven series, who wins?
In a Best-of-7 Series, the winning side is decided not only by having the most skilled players, but also by making the greatest changes over the course of seven games. The series will only last 6 games in this scenario.
The major superstars will determine the result of this series. Because Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant are unbeatable on offense, Team Shaq has the greatest combination on the court. Early in the series, O’Neal will be the driving force as Team Shaq takes a 2-0 lead. With the danger of Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant looming, neither Bosh nor Davis can handle O’Neal down low. In Game 1, O’Neal forces a 30 point, 20 rebound effort, followed by a 25 point, 17 rebound effort in Game 2.
Team LeBron makes changes, as great teams with great players do. King James begins to control the tempo, something he let Steve Nash to accomplish in Games 1 and 2. With LeBron at the helm and his crucial players stepping up, his team is able to tie the series at 2-2. Wade does an excellent job of troubling Bryant, and Kyrie shows that he is a great clutch player by hitting the game-winning shot in Game 4.
It was Kobe’s turn to make the game-winning shot in Game 5. With 0.3 seconds left in overtime, Kobe goes one-on-one with Wade, and The Black Mamba hits his famous fadeaway jumper to win the game. That shot will be crucial because, despite LeBron James’s 40-point effort in Game 6, Team Shaq put on a near-perfect performance. Game 6 is a nail-biter, with Team LeBron battling it out with their backs against the wall. With 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Team LeBron has a 6-point lead, but a Nash three-pointer and an O’Neal 3-point play tie the game over two possessions before Kobe and Garnett give Team Shaq a 4-point advantage with 3.5 minutes remaining. LeBron responds with a long three-pointer, but a Kobe-Shaq connection puts the game out of reach with two consecutive field goals, thus ending the series. Team LeBron is disappointed to have lost Game 5, but Team Shaq has shown they have the greatest combination in the game by avoiding a Game 7 when anything can happen.
Only Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal have won three championships and three MVP awards in a row.
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