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LeBron James, Lakers get big warning amid West dogfight

LeBron James Lakers Clippers Jazz

The Los Angeles Lakers are still widely regarded as the team to beat in the stacked Western Conference this season. Kendrick Perkins, however, recently warned LeBron James and and his supporting cast not to rest on their laurels anytime soon. The Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers will likely give them a dog fight come playoff time, given their depth and versatility.

Shortly after the heated battle between the Jazz and the Clippers at Staples Center on Friday, Perk suggested that these two teams have what it takes to oust the Purple and Gold by season’s end. The retired player turned analyst hinted that the Lakers’ supporting cast will need to get considerably better against these two loaded squads.

After a disappointing first-round exit last year, the Jazz have raced to the top of the NBA standings this season thanks to their high-octane offense and intimidating defense. As Perkins pointed out, Utah also boasts one of the best benches in the league bannered by Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner and former Laker Jordan Clarkson.

The Lakers’ crosstown rival Clippers, meanwhile, have actually flown under the radar so far, but continue to put the league on notice with statement wins like the one they had over the Jazz on Friday. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back on the floor, they snapped the Jazz’s league-best eight-game winning streak. The Clips also re-tooled nicely in the offseason with the additions of Nicolas Batum and Serge Ibaka, and are hungry to set up that Battle of LA showdown against the Lakers in the playoffs.

Perkins’ sentiments are certainly on point given that the Lakers will figure in a tough stretch ahead. They’ll be without superstar Anthony Davis for four weeks due to an Achilles strain. Maintaining homecourt advantage could be critical come playoff time, and the rest of the Lakeshow need to step up.