Both of these teams took very different roads to get to where they are at. The Nuggets were down 3-1 twice and came back to win. The first team to ever do that twice in a single playoffs and they have only played in 2 rounds. For the Lakers, they lost game 1 in both series, but after flipping the switch the Lakers cruised to win the next 4 in both. The Lakers are the clear favorite as the 1 seed with Lebron James and Anthony Davis. They need their role players to step up and knock down shots. Danny Green, KCP and all other spot up shooters mush show up this series. I am also interested to see whether they have AD guarding Jokic or they have Javale. They can throw a lot of different looks at him which the Clippers and Jazz both did not have the rosters to do. They have multiple big men who can match up with him. Other than matching up on him you need to close out on their perimeter shooters and you need to watch the cuts when Jokic has the ball in the post. He is a lethal passer and can fit it into any window to hit his player. If the Lakers can minimize the Nuggets offense, theirs could be just enough to get them the wins they need. On the other side of the ball, the Nuggets really stepped up defensively when it mattered most this playoffs. I have talked about this as the key all along for the Nuggets. Can Jokic match up and keep up with AD and all the other big centers on their team. Not to mention that they have Lebron who is an oversized point guard. The height of the Lakers is very hard to match, especially for the poor defensive Nuggets team. However, I give Mike Malone a lot of credit. His defensive adjustments for the second half of games have been spot on. They have made multiple large deficit comebacks all playoffs and it is mostly because of their defense. The Nuggets team +/- in the 2nd half was -23 through the first 4 games in the Clippers series in which they went down 3-1. The Clippers were getting their buckets, playing their defense and doing their thing. But Mike Malone must have found something because the 3 games in a row that the Nuggets had won, their team plus minus was +63 in the second half of the final 3 games of the series. That means that the Nuggets outscored the clippers by an average of 21 points in the second half of the each of the final 3 games of the series. That is almost unheard of. The Clippers completely fell apart and struggled to even score 15 points in the final quarter of the series. If the Nuggets can keep up this 2nd have defense and intensity, they have a pretty solid chance. It ain’t easy to go through Lebron and Lebron will make sure of the fact that he does not blow a 3-1 lead. I think if the Nuggets want a chance they gotta get off to a hot start and keep it going in game 2. If you win game 1 you gotta come out and win game 2. I think this is important because the last 2 series losing game 1 was a “wake up call” for Lebron and the Lakers. They were steam rolling after that. If the Nuggets could go up 2-0 (I would still not count the Lakers out not even a little bit) than it makes it a lot easier on them only having to win 2 out of the next 4. With Jamal Murray’s ability to take over games down the stretch and steal a game for you, and the Lakers somewhat lack of that, will make for a fun series.