The Top Seeded Nuggets are back in the Western Conference finals for the second time in the last four years. After two straight MVP seasons for Nikola Jokic resulted in earlier-than-expected exits, they are fully healthy and are making their run.
The Nuggets have been as dominant as any team has been throughout the NBA season, and have turned it up a notch in the playoffs. They ousted the Timberwolves in 5 games and expelled the Phoenix Suns in 6. The Denver Nuggets have not made it to the NBA finals since 1976, which was the year before the ABA and NBA merged.
Their opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers, is the opposite when it comes to Post season success. They have won 10 titles since the last time that the Nuggets made the NBA finals.
Lebron James and Anthony Davis look to be in total control and healthy for the first time since the bubble. The Lakers, the 7 seed in the west, took care of Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies in round one, and eliminated the defending champs, Golden State, in the second round in 6 games.
• Game 1: Lakers vs. Nuggets | Tue., May 16 | 8:30 ET, ESPN
• Game 2: Lakers vs. Nuggets | Thu., May 18 | 8:30 ET, ESPN
• Game 3: Nuggets vs. Lakers | Sat., May 20 | 8:30 ET, ABC
• Game 4: Nuggets vs. Lakers | Mon., May 22 | 8:30 ET, ESPN
• *Game 5: Lakers vs. Nuggets | Wed., May 24 | 8:30 ET, ESPN
• *Game 6: Nuggets vs. Lakers | Fri., May 26 | 8:30 ET, ESPN
• *Game 7: Lakers vs. Nuggets | Sun., May 28 | 8:30 ET, ESPN
* if necessary
Throughout the playoffs so far, the Lakers have outsized their opponents. Lebron, AD, and the rest of the crew have taken the ball in the lane and lived at the foul line. It has been the MO all season.
The Grizzlies and Warriors didn’t have an answer for that, but the Nuggets have the size to be able to rebound and force things away from the rim. Nikola Jokic may not be the best defender in the NBA, but he rebounds with the best of them and that alone will make this task more difficult for the Lakers.
This series is going to come down to the role players for the Lakers and the stars for the Nuggets. If the Lakers are able to get the outstanding performances from D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and others from the previous rounds, they have a chance to knock off the Nuggets.
For the Nuggets to win the series they are going to need Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to be the best players on the floor. When they are good the Nuggets win.
THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS ARE HERE‼️
Three years later, the Lakers and Nuggets meet again 🍿 pic.twitter.com/GrQ3I1KrCG
— ESPN (@espn) May 16, 2023
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| Title: Western Conference Finals
| Author: Matt Catton
| Date: May 04, 2023