LeBron James has never seen a more "dominant duo" than Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
But nearly two decades after Shaq and Kobe dominated the early 2000s with their three consecutive titles, the Los Angeles Lakers might have the closest thing to that legendary tandem. James and Anthony Davis dominated the Miami Heat for a second consecutive game, becoming the first pair of Lakers teammates since O'Neal and Bryant to each score more than 30 points in a Finals game.
In doing so, they led the Lakers to a 124-114 victory over the undermanned Heat on Friday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Lakers lead 2-0 in this best-of-seven NBA Finals, the first 2-0 series lead for James in a Finals in his career.
James (33 points, nine assists and nine rebounds) and Davis (32 points, 14 rebounds) became the first Lakers teammates to score at least 30 points each in a Finals game since Kobe Bryant (36) and Shaquille O’Neal (35) dominated in a Game 3 win over the New Jersey Nets in 2002.
Davis described Bryant and O’Neal as "the best duo we’ve seen" after the pair won three NBA championships in four Finals appearances. James echoed that, saying they became "the most dominant duo that I have personally seen in my life." But just as James and Davis showed in a brief moment in Game 2, Bryant and O’Neal often expressed their disagreements openly.
James eventually supplanted Bryant for third place on the league’s all-time scoring list this season. But James, who led the NBA this season in assists (10.2), has cemented himself as a pass-first player while having enough versatility to play all guard and forward positions. Davis has emerged as one of the NBA’s most dominant post players and defenders mostly at the power forward spot and occasionally at the center position.
James and Davis dismantled Miami's zone defense with their playmaking. For the second straight game, James barely missed out on a triple-double, posting 33 points, 9 assists and 9 rebounds. And the Heat once again had no answer for Davis, who had 32 points on 15-of-20 shooting from the field and 14 rebounds.
With the way things are going so far in these Finals, the only argument Davis and James might have is who is Shaq and who is Kobe in this latest Lakers super duo.