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Magic Johnson: "Lakers have to beat the Thunder" for the title

Magic Johnson recently spoke as a keynote speaker at the Champions of Health gala at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Afterward, he fielded a few questions and not surprisingly, his Lakers came up.

From Darnell Mayberry at The Oklahoman:

"I would say that the Lakers have to beat the Thunder. The Thunder has something over the Lakers that the Lakers don’t have right now and that’s being a team. They’ve done it before. And the Lakers, as they are assembled, have not played with each other. And that’s going to be the goal of the Lakers. Can they become a team? When the chips are down, one thing that’s great about the Thunder is they know where they’re going for a shot. ‘I’m going to look for Kevin (Durant) first.’ Then Russell (Westbrook) and James (Harden) decides who has it going and then they’ll look for their shot. I’m talking about in the last two minutes. Two minutes and down, when the game is in the balance. They have a sense of knowing each other."

Magic followed up by paying this high compliment to the Thunder:

"The one thing that I do appreciate and love about the Thunder is they play hard and they play well together and they play good defense. So I think that the Lakers have to get that. And the Thunder will show the Lakers that they’re not going away. They’re going to be here for a long time."

Remember how Isiah Thomas once famously uttered to Bill Simmons, "the secret to basketball is that it's not about basketball?" Magic just reiterated it here, and in the process underscored the main advantage that the young Thunder now have over the veteran Laker squad.