This series isn’t easy to get used to because even though it’s a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Finals off the bubble, both teams are very different teams.
Even this season’s matches are not useful. All four regular season meetings between the Lakers and Nuggets It happened just before the NBA trade deadline, when the Lakers revamped their roster. These games are pretty useless in predicting what will happen as of Tuesday night. While the Lakers had the best record in the West after the All-Star break (16-7) the Nuggets had run and hid from the rest of the West by that point, taking their foot off the gas and backtracking, all the while preserving the No. 1 seed.
There will be some feeling left out early in the series and a lot of tweaks.
Here are four things worth watching, plus some Betting tips from Vaughn Dalzell of NBC Sports Edge.
The two best men still playing will go head-to-head for much of this series, and he will likely decide.
Jokić was a powerhouse in this playoffs averaging 30.7 points with a 62.6 real shooting percentage, as well as 12.8 rebounds and 9.7 assists a game. like Draymond Green properly on his podcastHowever, if the Lakers allow Jokić to be a scorer and facilitator, then they lose, they have to tie him up. Davis and the Lakers did it in the bubble as Jokic put up the numbers — 21.8 points and five assists a game — but it wasn’t enough.
However, there are two reasons why it will be difficult for the Lakers to replicate the success of the Bubble. First, Jokic is a better player now than he was three years ago. It’s a more diverse threat.
Second, he has pitchers and cutters all over him all over the place now. As soon as help comes, he will find the open man. The Lakers might be willing to live with that, but don’t confuse these Nuggets with the Warriors where team Jordan Paul And Clay Thompson resist – DenverShooting games are hot and there are no men to hide from. Also, the Lakers struggled early in the final round of Game 4 when the Warriors started Gary Payton II, which resulted in Davis covering the green and having to come out level with the ball on the screens, and then the Warriors chipped the Lakers with good touchdown passes. That’s what the Nuggets do every game, and they’re deeper than the Warriors this year.
On the other hand, the Nuggets will have a hard time slowing down Davis and the Lakers offense.
Expect the Lakers to run a lot of pick-and-drop with Davis as the checker and try to force a Denver switch — lebron He’ll get ripped off by Joki – or they’ll have to deal with Davis as a roll man. The Lakers also now shoot everywhere with Austin ReevesAnd Angelo Russell And along the line. Lakers will score. The question is, do the Nuggets play low coverage and do their best to block the lane – they’re not a great team for edge protection but they do have good size – and let LeBron, Davis and the rest take their throws and think they can just win the math matter by being an offensive force on the other end.
This is a clash of strengths: The Nuggets have a league-best 118.7 offensive rating going into the playoffs, while the Lakers have a league-best 106.5 defensive rating this postseason. Which side wins that battle?
2) Can either team slow down the dribble penetration?
The Lakers have struggled to stop penetrating guards all season — even after the trade deadline — and Murray plays very much like Murray’s pre-injury bubble, crunching through the paint. Davis won’t be able to drop back in deep coverage because Jokić can shoot all three and he’ll only mark that defense.
This is not the Warriors, who have struggled to hit 3’s consistently, especially on the road (the Warriors have shot less than 30% of their 3’s on the road in recent series). The Nuggets are shooting 37.9% of 3 this postseason and all of their starting linebackers and infielders in rotation can shoot-leave Kentavius Caldwell Pope or Bruce Brown They will knock the ball down. Michael Porter Jr He hit better than 40% of 3 in the postseason. Aaron Gordon is a threat. You got the idea.
On the flip side, the Lakers are no Phoenix, as there were two players who could put the ball on the ground and create anything after that. Reeves, Russell, Dennis Schroeder They can all get into drawing as creators of shots for themselves and others. If/when the Nuggets have to help out on LeBron and Davis, the Lakers will move the ball and help the Nuggets defense isn’t elite.
We’ve seen great games from the Lakers backing the playoffs and this series is gearing up for more of those games.
3) Are the nuggets ready for this moment?
All season, even as the Nuggets qualified for the top seed in the West, there was an attitude from basketball fans (and many pundits), “That’s nice, but you’ve got to prove it in the playoffs.”
With two runs, Denver proved it. They made it to the Conference Finals and looked like the best team in the West to do so.
Now the lights are getting brighter – LeBron James The Lakers as an organization are used to this stage. As LeBron likes to say, he and his team feel comfortable being uncomfortable. They will play well.
Is Denver? They look ready for this moment, but what happens when they’re in it? The Nuggets weren’t used to being an organization to be here, and Jokić and company did just that in a one-off bubble experiment.
As sports fans, we often have the “You can’t do it until you do it” attitude with players and teams. A quarterback can’t win a Super Bowl until we see them win the Super Bowl. We haven’t seen Denver do that at the NBA level, so we’re skeptical. Are the Nuggets ready to flip that narrative?
4) Vaughn Dalzell’s Lakers vs. Betting Tips Nuggets
During this season, the Nuggets are 6-0 at home, while the Lakers are 7-0 at home. With that in mind, the favorite for the length of the series is seven games with a lead of +175. Better to bet on the Lakers at 7 at +650 or the Denver at 7 at +310, both of which are better payouts and easy hedges.
Is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (KCP) the series’ Denver Nuggets X-Factor? KCP was a huge part of the 2019-20 Lakers team, averaging 12.8 points per game in the NBA Finals. This postseason as a Denver Nugget, KCP averaged 10.5 points per game in the playoffs.
(Check out more Dalzell and the team at NBC Sports Edge.)
5) Can LeBron and Davis keep up on another series?
“I may have looked like I was conserving energy but I was tired after every game. Same with tonight,” LeBron said after the Lakers eliminated the Warriors in Game 6. “You know, you don’t really have a chance to conserve energy against a Golden State team. Because they always keep you on your toes.”
So is Denver.
LeBron and Anthony Davis got three days off between Friday’s win and Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday, but now that series goes every day with the first two games up.
Davis has had some flops this postseason (Game 5 against Memphis being the most obvious), but against this Nuggets team the Lakers can’t give up just one. LeBron and Davis have been flexible and found wells of energy to draw upon when needed, and they’ll need more of it this series because the Nuggets’ offense will test their defense like no team has yet. LeBron and Davis haven’t dressed this postseason, so can they keep it up for another series?
prediction: nuggets in seven. This wasn’t an easy pick, the Lakers could win that one in six (and I trust LeBron more in Game 7, even on the road, than anyone else in the series). This looks like the Nuggets Series 55% / 45%, although I think I could short the Nuggets and they are as good as they look. That said, the Lakers B won, and I don’t think they can slow down Denver’s offense enough to win the series.
Here is more about the Lakers
Three takeaways from LeBron and the Lakers eroded and eliminated the Warriors PBT Podcast: Second Round Playoffs, NBA Talk and NBA Draft Lottery Anthony Davis will reportedly be available for Game 6, avoiding a concussion
Five things to watch (with some betting tips) Lakers vs. Nuggets appeared in the original NBCSports.com