We are now down to the final two teams in the Western Conference. The top seed Denver Nuggets will host the Los Angeles Lakers for the right to go to the NBA Finals. This is a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Finals when it was in the Bubble. Denver Nuggets beat the Phoenix Suns in six games to advance to the conference finals. The Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the defending champion Golden State Warriors in six games also. Unfortunately, the Suns were my pick to advance over the Nuggets. Chris Paul fell victim to an injured groin and missed the final four games of the series. If that wasn’t enough, DeAndre Ayton didn’t play in the final game either. Los Angeles was my pick to beat the Warriors because it seems like everything has come together. Anthony Davis dominated in the first two rounds on both ends of the floor.
Nikola Jokic is one of the best players in the league at any position. Jokic will have his hands full on both ends being matched up against Anthony Davis. On the defensive end, they may put Aaron Gordon or Michael Porter Jr. With Davis most likely guarding Jokic, that could move him away from the basket. Jamal Murray will need a huge series if they are going to advance to the NBA Finals. Michael Porter Jr. could be the X-factor for the Nuggets. Porter Jr’s athleticism along with Aaron Gordon could frustrate the Lakers. Denver has never reached the NBA Finals, but this year is as good as any for them to make it. Jokic, Murray, Porter Jr., Gordon, and their supporting case will need to have the series of their lives. Will Denver finally end their drought and finally make it to the NBA Finals?
Los Angeles began their playoff run by edging Minnesota in the play-in game. The Lakers are the 7th seed, but they have looked like the best team in the west. They have a healthy team and it’s not all about LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, and Rui Hachimura are all averaging in double figures. Russell and Lonnie Walker IV have had moments where they have taken over the game. The defense of Anthony Davis will be vital in this series like it was in the Warriors one. Davis was equally effective on the perimeter as he was in the paint. Can the Lakers put it together for one more series and head back to the NBA Finals? Will the supporting cast continue to play some of their best basketball against the Nuggets? Will the Lakers advance to their 2nd NBA Finals in four years?
Who Advances to the NBA Finals?
Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis have been two of the most dominant players in the playoffs. Jokic is almost averaging a triple double. Davis is averaging 22 points and 14 rebounds to go along with swapping away shot after shot. Denver has six guys averaging double figures in the playoffs. Bruce Brown brings a defensive intensity this team lacked when they faced a couple years ago. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a part of the Lakers organization could be seeking revenge. Both teams go about 10 players deep in the playoffs. This series will be much different than their 2020 matchup in the Western Conference Finals in the bubble. Denver came into the playoffs as the top team in the west. Los Angeles has quickly become one of the favorites to win it all. This series will go 6 or 7 games and I’m picking the Lakers to win.