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LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated two-time defending champion Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks 113-106 Thursday night.

James paced Antetokounmpo – with whom he finished second in the MVP voting a year ago – with 34 points to help the Lakers win the game. But after the game, James didn’t care about the history of the individual match.

I don’t care, James said, according to USA Today. I try to play well and help our team win against any team.

James So’s star Anthony Davis also made a point of providing juicy information on the Antetokounmpo scoreboard, with whom he finished second in the race for defensive player of the year last season.

Honestly, no one has talked about it. Our motivation tonight was not to lose twice in a row, Davis told reporters. We did it. He’s a great player. Great player on both sides of the ball. He had it on his mind. But for us, it’s about winning basketball games.

Davis is the favorite to win the DPOY this season and is +200 on Odds Shark, just ahead of jazz greats Rudy Gobert and Antetokounmpo.

It’s a close race for the MVP title, but James is still in the top five of the 600 contenders, with Denver’s Nikola Jokic. Mavericks star Luka Doncic is still the 400-plus favorite.

LeBron James stays in rhythm and fresh

GettyLeBron James, Lakers

James is playing at 32.2 this season, which could mean a slight drop in his stats of 23.7 points, 7.9 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game. But it is also very good for the team, which is looking to make another run for the championship. James can stay fresh by keeping pace with his teammates.

Right now the line is thin in terms of the pressure we put on, the rest we take and how we stay in a good rhythm, James said at the beginning of the season. Because our team and I have built a great rhythm in the bubble, we want to try to keep it going for as long as we can.

It also allows the team to work with all of its playmakers, which is something head coach Frank Vogel is excited about.

Frank Vogel on what he thought was the first month: To be honest, I had no idea what to expect after a short off-season and victory in the championship. I really thought it could be a wide range of possibilities. I’m happy with where we are.

– Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) 21. January 2021

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect after the short offseason and after winning the championship, Vogel told reporters after the win over the Bucks. I really thought there was a wide range of possibilities. I’m happy with where we are. There are some areas where we need to continue to improve. And we’ve shown that sooner or later we can be great – just disciplining things with habits that we build with lots of repetition and lots of time together.

Caldwell Papa’s Candy Box Exposed Lighting Evaluation

GettyCentaville-Coldwell-Papa Lakers.

While James and Davis have been great, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been very strong lately, especially from the 3-point line. Caldwell-Pope averages 10.1 points per game, but shoots 52.9% from half court. Against the Bucks, he improved that number by beating 7 of 10 players to 3 points to match his season record of 23 points.

KZP, he knows why he’s on the floor. It’s supposed to break down this ground, it’s supposed to give us a lot of energy, James told reporters. If it opens up, we want it to pull. If he’s under close surveillance, let him shoot anyway. If he shoots the bullet, he’s so good. He’s so good for our ball club.

The Lakers continue their road trip on Saturday against the Chicago Bulls.

READ NOW: Lakers drag analyst LeBron James: He’s a disaster in the fourth quarter.

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