Shaquille O’Neal Says Lakers ‘Don’t Need Home-Court Advantage’ With LeBron James and Anthony Davis Healthy

Published 04/14/2021, 4:30 PM EDT
Mar 21, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers injured forward LeBron James (left) and Anthony Davis against the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The LA Lakers have somehow held down the fort without LeBron James in their last 11 games. While they still don’t have a positive record in those games, it is more than what most people had expected. People expected them to fall into the race for the play-in game without LeBron and Anthony Davis.

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However, LA has stayed strong so far. But they have lost hold on a top-four seed in the West. While they may jump over the Denver Nuggets, who lost Jamal Murray, Laker great Shaquille O’Neal believes LA doesn’t even need home-court advantage because of how good LeBron and AD are.

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“The difference between the Lakers and any other team is that the Lakers don’t need home-court advantage. When you got guys like LeBron and AD, they can steal a game on the opponent’s floor. Utah and (other top 4) teams need home-court advantage. Lakers do not.

Considering how the NBA is expecting fans to be back in the stands across all NBA arenas during the Playoffs, home-court advantage means something again. Considering the rabid fanbase that the Lakers have, is not having home-court advantage a potential detriment to their success?

Lakers: How will their standing affect their playoff chances?

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Apr 12, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) is double teamed against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers still have a fair amount of games to play before one of the two stars can return. Anthony Davis will be returning before LeBron James in all likelihood, so the team will have reinforcements soon. But the seeding of opponents can make a world of difference.

If the standings were to be frozen as-is, the Lakers would face Denver away from home in the 4-5 matchup. The second-round matchup after that would be against either the Utah Jazz or the Memphis Grizzlies. That is a good playoff schedule considering how Denver has been affected recently. Utah will be tricky to beat, but a matchup the Lakers would prefer over the LA Clippers.

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Home court advantage wouldn’t mean much against the Clippers anyway, as all the games would be at the STAPLES Center. Considering the way LeBron has played his entire career, Shaq may be right about this being inconsequential to the Lakers.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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