2024 Playoffs Western Conference First Round: (2) Denver Nuggets vs (7) LA Lakers

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NBA series preview: https://www.nba.com/news/2024-nba-playoffs-series-preview-nuggets-lakers

Game schedule:

Game 1: Lakers vs. Nuggets; Saturday, April 20 (8:30 ET, ABC)
Game 2: Lakers vs. Nuggets; Monday, April 22 (10 ET, TNT)
Game 3: Nuggets vs. Lakers; Thursday, April 25 (10 ET, TNT)
Game 4: Nuggets vs. Lakers; Saturday, April 27 (8:30 ET, ABC)
Game 5: Lakers vs. Nuggets; Monday, April 29 (TBD, TBD)*
Game 6: Nuggets vs. Lakers; Thursday, May 2 (TBD, TBD)*
Game 7: Lakers vs. Nuggets; Saturday, May 4 (TBD, TNT)*

Odds (FanDuel): DEN -335, LAL +270 (Implied: DEN 74%)

Fan podcast series preview:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z16EwVQwUQo
 

Sox and Rocks

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As the resident Nugget fan on this board, I do not fear the Lakers at all. The Nuggets are 8-0 against them in past calendar year, and for good reason. The Lakers simply don't match up well against the Nuggets.

My minor concerns are officiating, of course, but more so Michael Porter Jr.'s focus. One of his brothers was just banned for life by the NBA for betting, and one of his other brothers, who I believe lives with him, is scheduled to be sentenced for DUI/Vehicular Manslaughter in Denver court tomorrow morning. Obviously, he's an important player for the Nuggets and his family/personal life has to be a major distraction.

Nuggets in 5.
 

wrong rim ricky

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May 13, 2023
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Praying for a Denver win, but they're playing the Lakers at the worst possible time in terms of Lebron and AD being healthy and well-rested. Nuggets also seem worse than last year, while you can make arguments that Lakers have improved (especially if they get Vanderbilt back).
 

HomeRunBaker

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Praying for a Denver win, but they're playing the Lakers at the worst possible time in terms of Lebron and AD being healthy and well-rested. Nuggets also seem worse than last year, while you can make arguments that Lakers have improved (especially if they get Vanderbilt back).
I also don’t see how the Lakers don’t matchup with Denver. I feel they matchup very well physically as they’ve shown the past two years with a couple wins and most of the losses coming in the 4Q of close games. Their bigs matchup as well as any 4/5 which is where Denver exploits many teams. This is where Denver has a big advantage in execution with their two-man game and Gordon as the rim runner. Which AD shows up? The one from the IST or the one from two nights ago? That’s the wildcard here. With good AD this will be a very competitive series….with bad AD it won’t be.
 

Euclis20

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I also don’t see how the Lakers don’t matchup with Denver. I feel they matchup very well physically as they’ve shown the past two years with a couple wins and most of the losses coming in the 4Q of close games. Their bigs matchup as well as any 4/5 which is where Denver exploits many teams. This is where Denver has a big advantage in execution with their two-man game and Gordon as the rim runner. Which AD shows up? The one from the IST or the one from two nights ago? That’s the wildcard here. With good AD this will be a very competitive series….with bad AD it won’t be.
This is a crazy (and absolutely true) thing to say about a NBA 75 player that is both healthy and in his prime.

I'm really looking forward to this series, for a Celtics fan this is win-win (either our biggest obstacle to a title is gone, or the Lakers' season is over). I agree that the Lakers do match up well with Denver, but if the Lakers didn't have Lebron, I'd say that these close losses would get into their heads. It still might have - I think LA needs to win one of the first two games in Denver to have a chance. That seems an obvious thing to say about almost any underdog, but if the Lakers go down 2-0 that would mean they've lost 10 straight games to Denver over the last 16 months. At that point, winning 4 games in 5 tries seems completely unrealistic.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I also don’t see how the Lakers don’t matchup with Denver. I feel they matchup very well physically as they’ve shown the past two years with a couple wins and most of the losses coming in the 4Q of close games.
Lakers 0-8 vs DEN since the start of 2023.

Last two games LAL won were December 16, 2022, and October 30, 2022). RWB was key in both games going for 18 points and +18 in October and 15 points and +25 in December (in December, Austin Reaves and Thomas Bryant went for 16 (+26) and 21 (+10), respectively off the bench). The December 2022 game was also the game AD left early and then missed something like the next 20 games.
 

SteveF

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I don't think the Lakers have a lineup that can both score and defend effectively enough. You need Reaves and DLo to score -- and Reaves might actually be a sneaky good matchup for LA -- but both those guys are exploitable on the defensive end. Maybe you can eventually get to Vincent in place of Reaves or DLo and use the other guy off the bench, or go with Vincent in the 4th quarter as the guy who might be able to get over a screen and stay attached to Murray.

Ideally the Lakers would start with LeBron on Jokic, AD on Gordon, but that's probably overtaxing LeBron.

I doubt it will be a sweep. I'm sure there will be a game the Lakers hit enough 3s and win that way. Hard to see this getting to a 7th game, though.
 

m0ckduck

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I would worry about DLo if I was a Lakers fan. He's been playing arguably the best ball of his career as of late, but it seems based off a certain fuck you heat check nonchalance. That mindset is hard to maintain in the postseason where everything gets much more deliberate. His shooting will be a big x-factor in whether they're able to hit enough 3s to actually take a few games and make this a long series versus an outcome like last year, where they are competitive but lose in 4 or 5. They will need him to match some of Murray's shot creation in a series where Lebron will be blanketed by Aaron Gordon late in games.
 

Kliq

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I'm very confident in the Nuggets in this series. People have talked about the Lakers ability to guard Jokic well because they remember down the stretch of Game 1 last year (a game the Lakers lost) that they had some success in having Rui body Jokic and planting Davis near the basket to come over and help. IDK why it's forgotten that the Nuggets solved that pretty quickly and swept the Lakers during the rest of the series. The Lakers don't match up well against Denver, particularly against Murray who just fileted them during the series last year.

The only thing that gives me some pause is the Nuggets really sleep-walked through a lot of portions of the season and really should be the #1 seed in the West. They are banking on turning it on and are facing a Laker team that has been playing high-stakes basketball for a while now.
 

lovegtm

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I'm very confident in the Nuggets in this series. People have talked about the Lakers ability to guard Jokic well because they remember down the stretch of Game 1 last year (a game the Lakers lost) that they had some success in having Rui body Jokic and planting Davis near the basket to come over and help. IDK why it's forgotten that the Nuggets solved that pretty quickly and swept the Lakers during the rest of the series. The Lakers don't match up well against Denver, particularly against Murray who just fileted them during the series last year.

The only thing that gives me some pause is the Nuggets really sleep-walked through a lot of portions of the season and really should be the #1 seed in the West. They are banking on turning it on and are facing a Laker team that has been playing high-stakes basketball for a while now.
I will never forget the endless, breathless articles about how the Lakers had solved Jokic, and how maybe it was worth losing game 1 in order to stumble on this Rui solution.

(Never mind that tons of other teams had tried "body Jokic with a strong shorter guy")
 

Tony C

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I also don’t see how the Lakers don’t matchup with Denver. I feel they matchup very well physically as they’ve shown the past two years with a couple wins and most of the losses coming in the 4Q of close games. Their bigs matchup as well as any 4/5 which is where Denver exploits many teams. This is where Denver has a big advantage in execution with their two-man game and Gordon as the rim runner. Which AD shows up? The one from the IST or the one from two nights ago? That’s the wildcard here. With good AD this will be a very competitive series….with bad AD it won’t be.
I think it's simpler than that. It's not "bad," AD...it's healthy AD (or not). AD 2 days ago was playing with back spasms, which can't be fun. He says he'll be 100% by game 1, but that won't necessarily the be the case. If he is over the spasms, though, the guy is incredibly consistent and will make it a competitive series.

That said, while i agree the Lakers are being underestimated, I still think Jokic is just too much of difference maker. Healthy or not, and as good as he is, AD just isn't as good as Jokic. The Lakers only shot is if LeBron is absolutely our of his mind and outplays Murray by as much as Jokic will outplay AD. If so, then it becomes a pick 'em series, as the Nuggets supporting cast is better than the Lakers', but is thin and not really that much better.

My own guess is Nuggets in 6 but definitely agree that, as in last year's sweep, it'll be competitive throughout. The 8-0 record is being somewhat overplayed given how tight many of those games have been. That said, the difference in tight games is closing offense, and the Nuggets closing offense is as awesome as can be.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I think it's simpler than that. It's not "bad," AD...it's healthy AD (or not). AD 2 days ago was playing with back spasms, which can't be fun. He says he'll be 100% by game 1, but that won't necessarily the be the case. If he is over the spasms, though, the guy is incredibly consistent and will make it a competitive series.

That said, while i agree the Lakers are being underestimated, I still think Jokic is just too much of difference maker. Healthy or not, and as good as he is, AD just isn't as good as Jokic. The Lakers only shot is if LeBron is absolutely our of his mind and outplays Murray by as much as Jokic will outplay AD. If so, then it becomes a pick 'em series, as the Nuggets supporting cast is better than the Lakers', but is thin and not really that much better.

My own guess is Nuggets in 6 but definitely agree that, as in last year's sweep, it'll be competitive throughout. The 8-0 record is being somewhat overplayed given how tight many of those games have been. That said, the difference in tight games is closing offense, and the Nuggets closing offense is as awesome as can be.
Yeah I agree with all this. Close games with the Nuggets executing better down the stretch in the halfcourt. That has been the script for most of their games the past two years. Of course injuries during the series or players going nuclear from three could alter that script.
 

Caspir

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Jul 16, 2005
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Early, but this looks like it will be something more than a formality for Denver. 30+ in the first for the Lakers. Lebron looks incredible as always. He is the NBA version of Brady, and it’s really cool being able to see both of those guys don what they did/do at this level as an “old” man.
 

lars10

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Early, but this looks like it will be something more than a formality for Denver. 30+ in the first for the Lakers. Lebron looks incredible as always. He is the NBA version of Brady, and it’s really cool being able to see both of those guys don what they did/do at this level as an “old” man.
It would be nice if this series went 7.
 

TrapperAB

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Why not a four game sweep by the Nuggets where every game was oh so close?

Save the seven game series for the next round.
If it’s gonna be a sweep, can we at least have pentagOTs?

(Truth be told I want Joker to crush LeBron. I know it’s heresy, but Jokic has been my favorite player for at least five years.)
 

Cellar-Door

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LAL are getting exactly what they need to win (DEN shoots 27% from 3) and it's still a one possession game. LAL just have such little room for error in their offense needing to crush at 2s to win.
 

osori

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I'm stating the obvious, but man Jokic is just on a tier of his own in terms of court awareness. Noone among the current players, even LBJ or Luka, comes close.
 

Cellar-Door

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Lakers went over 4 minutes between scores, 8 empty trips (including multiple turnovers).
DEN shots starting falling, but the stops are what blew this open.
 

JCizzle

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I'm stating the obvious, but man Jokic is just on a tier of his own in terms of court awareness. Noone among the current players, even LBJ or Luka, comes close.
It must infuriate LeBron. I love it.
 

Cellar-Door

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Darvin Ham watching Rui get flamebroiled out there, really just leaning into it because it worked once for like 5 minutes last year..... just put AD or LeBron on him, at least give yourself a chance.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I'm stating the obvious, but man Jokic is just on a tier of his own in terms of court awareness. Noone among the current players, even LBJ or Luka, comes close.
Facts, as the kids say.

Lets hope the Nuggets keep the Lakers in deep water and pull them down. I am already sick of the Lakers-can-beat-Denver narrative. I don't care about matchups - Lakers just need to lose and miserably if possible.
 

snowmanny

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When you're third leading scorer has 10 points on 17 shots your depth might suck

edit fuck I'm a jinx