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Kolsky’s Quick Hits: Warriors and Lakers could be a fun rivalry, MLB playoffs, Drew Brees

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Klay Thompson, seen here on April 12, 2018, grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Best Coast Rivalry SZN

The results of this away-and-away preseason series between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers don’t matter. For the first time in many of our lives, though, the matchup does.

LeBron’s Lakers may not be a primary challenger for this year’s crown, but make no mistake: The arrival of King James announces a new era of Los Angeles basketball, and he certainly intends to be heard from in future championship chases.

Each of four regular-season games this season (not to mention both meaningless preseason tilts) will be televised nationally, including Christmas Day. 

Much has been made of the likelihood that LeBron’s presence attracts another superstar within a calendar year, and that may yet happen (despite failed attempts at adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George). Don’t sleep on what the Lakers already are, though.

“Definitely expect them to make the playoffs, because I think their young guys will take a huge leap, because in your second year, that’s what you usually do,” Klay Thompson said at practice this week. “I expect them to be in playoff contention. Championship contention, I’m not sure. We have to wait for that. That takes a lot of work.”

We’re well acquainted with No. 23, but the electric group of young talent that now surrounds him is noteworthy. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram both have a chance to be stars; Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma both exceeded expectations as rookies and look like significant contributors. Throw in a group of oddball veterans that may bring some baggage but also add distinct skills, and you can trust that James will make them relevant.

Get ready, Warriors fans — after years of trying to force a rivalry with the ultimately unworthy Clippers, LeBron and the Lakers are here to give you a real reason to chant “Beat LA” during basketball season.

All Hail Drew Brees

Sue me if I’m not the first to say it — I love Drew Brees, and his record-breaking display on Monday Night Football was a delightful reminder of his greatness.

Brees eclipsed Peyton Manning’s all-time passing record of 71,940 yards on a 62-yard touchdown pass, then willingly took a celebration penalty as he took in the moment — telling teammates he loved them, delivering an inspirational quote to his kids and further cementing his reputation as an all-around great guy.

A lot of the conversation centered around his “unlikely” assent to surefire Hall-of-Famer, a narrative that gives too much play to his lack of height (given that he was also a record-breaking quarterback in college). The circumstances of his arrival in New Orleans are more relevant — a player with a potentially devastating injury, a city recovering from a devastating natural disaster — and his performance as a citizen of that city is as inspiring as anything he’s done on the field.

That’s why ESPN’s cameras caught grown men crying all over the Superdome on Monday night. That’s why Drew Brees is the perfect quarterback — a guy who not only leads your franchise to greatness but also becomes an indelible part of the community. We should be so lucky as to get half of that from either of the Bay’s two franchise QBs.

MLB’s Final Four is Worth Your Time

Hopefully the wounds of local baseball have healed enough for everyone to find the League Championship Series on their televisions, because these should be doozies.

The American League gives us a showdown between baseball’s two best rosters in the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox. Both lineups feature MVPs (though whichever Red Sox slugger wins this year won’t receive his hardware for a few weeks), and both rotations feature multiple Cy Young winners.

I tend to favor the Astros slightly, if only because they seem to be playing a little better at this particular moment and have the playoff mettle earned in last year’s title run, but this should be as good a series as baseball can produce.

The NLCS is less sexy on its face, but at the very least has a chance to deliver on the Bay Area’s favorite October snack — Dodgers schadenfreude. If that’s not enough to excite you, perhaps you’ll enjoy MVP candidate Christian Yelich and the surprising Milwaukee Brewers, who have been as dominant as anyone in the playoffs to this point.

Give me the hot hand (the hot glove logo that also spells mb?) and a World Series matchup between former NL Central rivals. Whatever happens, this looks to be a final four that delivers.

Matt Kolsky is a sports media professional (or something like that) and lives with an aging Shih Tzu/Schnauser mix in Berkeley. You can hear him on the Bay Area sports radio station 95.7 the Game, 5a-6a every weekday morning. You can listen to his podcast, The Toy Department, on iTunes or wherever else fine podcasts are free. You can find him on Twitter @thekolsky to share your personal feelings about this article or any other topic, he will respond to most tweets that do not contain racial slurs.

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