Will Jokic stop LeBron’s title ambitions?


What the Lakers need to do: Defense. When these teams met in the Conference Finals in the bubble in 2020, the Lakers He won the series in just five games, bringing Denver to 109.2 points in the contest. Maybe they should do better this time because the Nuggets boast that they are probably the best player on earth, Nikola JokicWinner of two of the past three NBA MVP Awards. Luckily for LA, they probably have the best defender on the ground in the area Anthony Davis. In the 2020 tournament, Davis’ long arms deflected countless shots and he’ll have to do the same here.

The problem with the Lakers is that Jokic is better than he was three years ago, he is able to score from anywhere and provide assists. against the Golden State Warriors In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Lakers held the Warriors and Stephen Curry to under 100 points in Game 3, and averaged 109.8 points per game in all six contests. They’re going to have to maintain that pressure against Denver.

When the Lakers emerged victorious over Golden State, a relieved James said he and his team had “a lot of respect” for the Nuggets. Both teams will have a few days off between winning the semi-finals and Game 1 in Denver on Tuesday. The rest will be important for the Lakers, especially if they want to keep their streak alive to win game one on the road and take home court advantage from their ranked opponents, just as they did in the opening round against Memphis and later against the Lakers. the Warriors.

Key player for the Lakers: lebron He’s still the king, but it’s now clear that the Lakers’ best player is Davis, with his condor-like wingspan and ability to influence the game at both ends of the court. He can check guards, block shots on the edge of defense and attack the paint with the ball. But the series will likely come down to “the others,” as Shaquille O’Neal often calls the team’s players. Uncut suite Austin Reeves He was the third best player on the team over the past several months, and guards Dennis Schroeder and D’Angelo Russell made an important scoring difference. Everyone will need to be on their A-game if they are to survive Jokić.

What should the nuggets do: Stay calm. Sure, they’re a (relatively) small town team. And Los Angeles certainly sparkles, with stars like Jack Nicholson and Michael B Jordan in the crowd. But the rims are still 10 feet long, and the court is still 94 feet by 50 feet. While Denver is a very defensive team, a star player can and will do it all on offense. When the Warriors had success against the Lakers, it came from keeping Davis off the basket. Jokić can do it in spades, coordinating from the top of his three-point arc. Combine his talents with a skilled supporting cast Jamal Murraystraight ahead Aaron GordonMichael Porter Jr. shooter and the Swiss Army Knife Kentavius ​​Caldwell Popeand the Nuggets have more than enough to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

The main player in the Nuggets game: The starting five for Nuggets is excellent. They have the size, the scoring, the experience, the continuity and the talent to boot. So, let’s take a look at the team’s reserves – specifically, the three players who are likely to sit on the bench in any close game: Versatile striker Jeff Greencutting guard Bruce Brown Jr. and a promising rookie Christian Brown. Yes, Jokić is always #1 when it comes to Denver. But without great play off the bench while the new players rest, Denver will be going home sooner than they could have hoped.

prediction: Given that the Lakers renewed their franchise for such tremendous degree This year, it’s hard to glean any clue from the head-to-head battles between the teams during the regular season. But with two hungry rosters and two former MVPs, this should be a close roster. However, the tip has to go to James, who’s been here a few times before. Lakers at 6.

What should The Heat do: It all starts with Jimmy Butler. He is the straw that stirs the drink by propelling it towards the basket, his defense is tenacious and his ability to make mistakes. Apart from Butler, the other Heat ace in the hole is their coach, Eric Spoelstra. He might be the best tactician in the game, able to turn a slight advantage into one that could decide a series. The Heat grinds matches, and the Celtics are well aware of this, after facing Miami last year in the Conference Finals, playing seven games and barely winning after that. The bell beater was lost from Butler which still lives on in the minds of her fans. While the Heat is the No. 8 seed, they believe they are on par with Boston. With what can not be worn Bam Adebayo And Kyle LowryTogether with the shooters Max Strauss And Duncan RobinsonMiami has a great chance to advance if they stay disciplined.

The main player in the heat: While Butler remains Miami’s biggest name, it will be difficult for the Heat to win without powerful long-distance shooting. Miami will certainly be looking to spoil the game with mistakes, rough plays, and every other trick Spoelstra can muster. But they’ll need to hold their own with Boston’s top scorers in order to advance. As such, Robinson and Strus must land shots more often, in order to put up points and create court space for Butler to operate.

What should the Celtics do: Remember who they are. It’s weird, Boston somehow tends to forget that they might be the best team in the NBA and definitely the best team left in this playoffs. Are they bored? team stars, Jason Tatum And Jaylen Brownexcellent complement Alhorfordand Robert Williams W Marcus Smart: Many would argue which is the only NBA team that can beat the Celtics We are Celtics. If a team becomes underpowered or loses confidence, Miami will attack like a piranha crossed with a pitbull and there will be no tomorrow. In effect, the series would be won and lost between Boston Ears and their playoff-tested roster.

Boston’s main player: Boston’s main character will not be on the court. Instead, it was the 34-year-old rookie coach, Joe Mazzola, who replaced Emi Odoka Amidst a storm of controversy. The youngster connected to play is somewhat two years old younger From the team’s starting position, Horford. Will Coach Spo outshine Coach Mazz, who already boasts two LeBron-Wade-era championship rings? Or will he rise to the challenge? Mazzulla has really been around lately Out-of-service by smart. But Maz and his team He responded in Sunday’s Game 7 against Phillyand got points 76ers 33-10 in the third quarter. It will be up to the Boston coach to make sure the team stays rooted in their identity: a killer one-two punch with a talented support team.

prediction: While the “Zombie Heat,” as Bill Simmons calls it, will never completely go away, Boston is far more talented than the South Beach team. They should take care of business in the series and meet the Lakers in the Finals 13y time in history, every team hopes gain 18y Title logo. Boston at 6.


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