1. The Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar duo is simply better
There was a little bit of pushback from Clipper fans on this point last season. Kawhi Leonard was fresh off of winning the NBA Finals MVP and Paul George was fresh off of a career year in which he was an MVP finalist.
Kawhi and George are great, don’t get me wrong, but the season panned out as expected for these two superstar duos. LeBron James and Anthony Davis were notably the better pair, with LeBron finishing as an MVP finalist and AD finishing as a Defensive Player of the Year finalist.
The things that the Lakers’ stars can do are simply unparalleled. While Kawhi gets in his killer modes and does not miss a shot, the Clippers are also worse off when he is having an off night, something the Lakers did not really worry about with LeBron.
When LeBron had a lesser night in the playoffs that typically meant that AD would explode for at least 35 and 10. When AD was not as involved in the offense it was because LeBron was driving to the hoop and scoring 35 himself.
George is easier to contain than AD as well. While it is not easy to defend a star, there are more wing defenders in this league whose job it is to stop someone like Paul George. AD is just too big and too skilled. Even Rudy Gobert had serious problems with AD in the bubble.