Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's been eight years since a team other than the Warriors or Spurs won the Western Conference. That's bound to change this season — and two of the teams that will be battling for supremacy play in the same city.

The big picture: While title contenders are only just now returning to Los Angeles, it's been the center of the NBA universe for a while now.

  • Players spend the offseason there, most free agent meetings happen there and the number of L.A.-based NBA reporters has exploded.
  • "Everything's going to run through the city this year. As a national writer, how can you not have a footprint on it?" said Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, who lives in Oakland but estimates he now spends 70% of his time in L.A.

The Lakers: It's LeBron James, Anthony Davis and … an assortment of role players (unless Kyle Kuzma makes a leap).

  • Yes, it's true, the Lakers lack depth. But the James-Davis partnership is as lethal as it gets, and they're virtually unguardable in the pick-and-roll — especially if guys like Danny Green are hitting corner threes with consistency.

The Clippers: While the Lakers were forced to blow up their roster to acquire Davis, the Clippers were able to acquire Kawhi Leonard and Paul George while keeping much of their roster intact.

  • As a result, L.A.'s "second team" is the NBA's best, at least on paper. They're talented, deep and could be downright scary defensively.
  • Plus, they're working on that whole "second team" thing, too — going after an untapped following of "grinders, outsiders, artists and counter-culture types who might be put off by the Lakers' preening Hollywood image."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

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