The Los Angeles Lakers are four wins away from going to the NBA finals for the first time in a decade.
Their opponents will be the tireless Denver Nuggets, who are the only team in NBA history to come back from two 3-1 deficits in the same playoffs.
How can the Lakers-Nuggets matchup play out?
Jokic vs Davis
The biggest matchup in the series will be between two big men. The Clippers struggled to stop Nikola Jokic in every aspect of the game, scoring, assisting, and rebounding. That’s why it will be key for the Lakers to stop him in especially in late-game situations with their first-team all-defense big guy, Anthony Davis.
If Davis can neutralize Jokic’s game, then the Lakers will have more favorable matchups and a better chance to win.
How Denver Guards LeBron
Denver will have a big problem, like all of the teams that the Lakers face, and that is trying to stop LeBron James. At 35 years old, James is still having an unbelievable run, 26.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in only 34.2 minutes per game. Denver’s best options for guarding James are Jeremi Grant and Paul Millsap. Both of them are James’ size, but Grant isn’t as strong and Millsap isn’t as fast, so we will see how Denver decides to play this out.
The Lakers will also have a problem guarding Jamal Murray, who has been on fire all the playoffs. Los Angeles’ perimeter defense was left with a hole after Avery Bradley opt-out of the season, but it still has been solid enough. Alex Caruso has stepped up big in the defensive end of, guarding James Harden and Russel Westbrook last series.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green will have to be consistently guarding the good young perimeter players that Denver has, and especially shooting the three-pointer. If the role players end up having a consistently good series the Lakers will benefit enormously from it.
In the past two series, the Lakers have lost the first game and won the next four straight. Meanwhile, the Nuggets have comeback from three-one down.
Which team will end up in the NBA finals?
Featured Image: CBS Sports