Lakers vs nuggets
Photo Credit: ESPN

Game Preview: Lakers vs Nuggets – Western Conference Finals – Game 1

(#1) Los Angeles Lakers (8-2) | (#3) Denver Nuggets (8-6)


After taking care of Houston in five games, the Lakers are now set to face off against the Denver Nuggets for a spot in the NBA Finals.


Here we are, with the final four teams left standing in these bubble playoffs. In the Eastern Conference, you have the Miami Heat and those bitter Boston Celtics. And for the Western Conference, we have the match-up we have all been waiting for between the two Los Angeles squads, the Lakers and the Clippers. Oh, wait.


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: USA Today

In case you have been living under a rock, the Clippers blew another 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets. So while the Lakers got their rest, they got to sit back and watch as the Nuggets, and the Clippers battled it out in seven games. As a result, the Lakers will playing against the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

I am not going to lie here, I personally really wanted to see an all-LA battle for the trip to The Finals, but I guess the Clippers curse of not making it past the second round will live to see another day.

Let’s not get it twisted here. I am not mad that we get to see the Nuggets as a consolation prize. Denver is a good and talented team with some depth, which earned them the third seed in the West. I think a lot of people forgot how good they were and automatically wrote them off when it came to their match-up against the Clippers. The Nuggets were only three and a half games behind the Clippers, and they possibly could have caught up to them in the standings if not for various injuries throughout the season.


The Nuggets’ star player Jamal Murray did not even return to action until about a week before the playoffs started.


Key defensive player Gary Harris did not return until they were already down 3-1 to the Utah Jazz in the first round. Not to mention, they are still without Will Barton, who averaged 15.1 points per game this season, third for the team only behind Murray and Nikola Jokic.

Denver’s depth is vital, but they also recently showed their fight and willingness not to back down when their backs are against the wall. Murray said he credits their Game 7 loss at home to the Portland Trail Blazers last season in the second round of the playoffs. He made it a priority to work out and gain more muscle. Murray understood that he needed to get stronger and more conditioned for those long, grueling playoff series.

Murray also took the time to attend the Mamba Academy last summer and took lessons and learned from the late great Kobe Bryant himself, mostly to work on his low post moves. It is safe to say that the hard work paid off for Murray and the Nuggets, who have now successfully survived two seven-game series on their way to the Western Conference Finals.

Denver has not been to the conference finals since 2009. The ironic part is that their opponent back then was none other than the Los Angeles Lakers. Eleven years ago, we got to witness an epic match-up between Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. Now it is Jokic and Murray against LeBron James and Anthony Davis.


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Draft Kings

Throughout the regular season, the Lakers were 3-1 against Denver. Although that sounds dominant, those games were very close and competitive. Let us not forget the intense match-up the week before the playoffs, when the Lakers won off a Kyle Kuzma three-pointer with less than a second left. Los Angeles got a slight victory, but the Nuggets did not play any of their starters at all in the fourth quarter. The point I’m trying to make here is that the Lakers will still have a hard fight on their hands against these Denver Nuggets.



Heading into Game 1, the Lakers are riding a four-game winning streak. While, Denver is coming in with a three-game winning streak of their own.


These are two teams that are pretty hot right now, and I predict a series that can go six, perhaps seven games. The Nuggets seem to have a problem getting started in the first half of games but come out looking invincible in the second half. Los Angeles will have to maintain and keep their feet on the gas when leading big, and not allow Denver to creep back in.


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Denver Stiffs

The Lakers struggle to defend the three at times, but fortunately, Houston was bricking a lot of their three-point attempts in the previous series. (Which is something we all know would happen due to James Harden‘s and Russell Westbrook‘s history with shooting woes in the postseason)

This time, however, the Nuggets seemed to do the complete opposite. Denver, at times, have looked like they can’t miss from anywhere on the court in the second half of these games, especially against a defensive-aggressive team like the Clippers.


Luckily for the Lakers, the return of Rajon Rondo has helped improve the Lakers‘ defensive intensity and got them once again looking like that red-hot team we were seeing in March, right before the coronavirus put a halt to the season. At the start of the playoffs, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green looked like they could not buy a bucket. But now they are both showing why they were brought to Los Angeles and in the starting lineup.

It may not be the team we were all expecting, but this will still be a fun series. Denver is an exciting team who seems like they will not take no for an answer, but I ultimately got the Lakers winning in six games. After waiting around for almost a week, we are finally ready for the Western Conference Finals.


The Lakers play against Denver in Game 1 on Friday, Sep. 18, at 6 pm. You can watch the game on TNT and Spectrum SportsNet.


All games will be broadcasted on TNT:


Game 1: Fri, Sept. 18 Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers 6:00 p.m.

Game 2: Sun, Sept. 20 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets 4:30 p.m.

Game 3: Tues, Sept. 22, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets 6:00 p.m.

Game 4: Thurs, Sept. 24 Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers 6:00 p.m.

Game 5*: Sat, Sept. 26 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets 6:00 p.m.

Game 6*: Mon, Sept. 28, Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers TBD

Game 7:* Wed, Sept. 30 Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers TBD

*If Necessary 

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-Isaiah Torres – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter- Isaiah_Torres24

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