Lakers, LeBron James and Luka Doncic means NBA basketball is truly back

The Lakers and Mavericks squaring off means the NBA is officially back.

NBA scrimmages have begun in the Orlando bubble, and the first star-powered matchup took place Thursday night as the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Dallas Mavericks.

That means LeBron James and Anthony Davis were taking on Luka Doncic. All the stars played in limited action, but the highlights were flowing and it was easy to get excited.

The Lakers taking on Luka marked the true return of the NBA

A LeBron alley-oop to Dwight Howard was a great signal that competitive basketball is back. Don’t think Doncic didn’t notice. He threw down a monster slam of his own.

Doncic had 14 points in 16 minutes and honestly, it was just great to see these stars back on the floor. There has been so much uncertainty lately, but the NBA bubble has proven to be an effective method of keeping players and staff safe (at least to this point in time).

Seeing James throwing down his signature dunk and having a reason to celebrate made it all real.

Both James and Davis finished with 12 points in 15 minutes apiece, and they looked like they weren’t messing around during quarantine. We already knew that based on social media posts, but we have seen some players show up looking like they went on a year-long diet or forgot to lift a single weight.

Even Dion Waiters got in on the fun for the Lakers as he looks to rebuild his reputation during a deep postseason run.

Thursday’s game — a 108-104 victory for the Mavs — doesn’t count for anything, but the players were taking it seriously and that showed their commitment to finishing the season and the postseason strong.

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LeBron and the Lakers want to win a title. Luka and the Mavericks want to make a deep run of their own. This should be the first sign that the NBA restart is going to be an amazing finish to the most unique season in league history.