LeBron James and the Lakers cruised to victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, sending a clear message that they are fully rested and ready to assert their dominance along the next leg of their quest for an NBA championship.
Anthony Davis led the way for L.A. with 37 points and 10 rebounds, but LeBron did a little bit of everything to help his team establish an early lead on his way to 15 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds on the night. It’s hard to properly quantify the impact he made on the game, which is at least partially at the heart of a major gripe he addressed when speaking to reporters afterward.
As it turns out, LeBron feels a certain way after all about how the MVP voting turned out, specifically voicing his displeasure that he only received 16 first-place votes in the final tally that was released on Friday.
Lakers’ LeBron James on finishing second in 2020 NBA MVP voting: “It pissed me off.” pic.twitter.com/TCiRHjujmn
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 19, 2020
Lebron was careful to make clear that he had no issue with Giannis Antetokounmpo winning his second straight MVP trophy. His issue apparently had more to do with the fact that he didn’t get more first-place votes in the process. LeBron finished with 16 first-place votes to Giannis’ 85 and was the only other player to receive first-place votes.
Giannis, to be fair, had better numbers across the board than LeBron and a better team record throughout the regular season. Jalen Rose made a key argument on Friday that announcing the winner during the postseason dilutes the impact of the award because of recency bias.
Regardless, it’s clear that LeBron feels somewhat snubbed by the outcome. Whether real or imagined on his part, it’s obviously giving him extra motivation as he and the Lakers continue their postseason run.