The Lakers finally learned their Western Conference Finals opponent Tuesday, and started preparing for a series against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday, one that will be markedly different from L.A.’s second-round matchup against the Houston Rockets.
The Nuggets are the darlings of the bubble after coming back from a 3-1 deficit to send the Clippers packing. They’re also a damn good basketball team that gave the Lakers trouble throughout the regular season, so the latest episode of “I Love Basketball” focuses in on what makes the Nuggets so deadly, and how the Lakers can contain them — after, of course, spending the requisite amount of time reveling in the Clippers’ defeat.
Our hosts Christian and Sabreena spend some time discussing the Denver dynamic duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, and how they are allowed to thrive because the rest of the Nuggets are constantly in motion around them, a stark contrast to the Rockets. That will require the Lakers to be on a string defensively, while also having excellent defenders at the point of attack. Fortunately, the Lakers have the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year in Anthony Davis (who was also just named first-team all-NBA), and Christian and Sabreena talk about how they want Frank Vogel to deploy Davis — and maybe even Dwight Howard — in this series.
The two of them finish up reminiscing about their fandom the last time the Lakers were in the conference finals a decade ago, and specifically during L.A.’s series against Denver in 2009. Hopefully, this matchup has a similar outcome.