The western conference final has finally arrived, as tonight game 1 commences at 9 pm eastern time It’s a conference final that no one had envisioned as the basketball world heavily anticipated an all L.A conference final between the Lakers and Clippers. However, the Nuggets had something else to say about that.
While most expected a battle of the teams from Los Angeles in the Western Conference Finals, that won’t be the case this season. In two straight series, the Denver Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit to win in Game 7 and advance. They will play the Los Angeles Lakers to decide who will represent the West in the 2020 NBA Finals.
Let’s dive into this upcoming Western Conference Finals matchup.
A breakdown of the Lakers & Nuggets
The Los Angeles Lakers are likely the best of the four teams remaining in the playoffs. However, this Nuggets team can not be looked down on. Regardless of what happened in the regular season between these teams, on which the Lakers won the regular season (3-1) series, however, much has changed for both squads.
The Lakers have had their struggles from deep in the playoffs, at .359 which is the sixth lowest of the 16 playoff teams to this point. The Nuggets, on the flip side, are the best remaining three-point shooting team.
The rebounding battle will be something to watch in this series. Los Angeles has been the second-best rebounding team in the playoffs, while Denver has struggled on the glass. The Nuggets have shown flashes on being an elite rebounding team, with the contributions of Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. A key adjustment is needed for the Denver Nuggets if they would like to give themselves a legitimate chance at defeating the Lakers in this series.
The purple and gold led all playoff teams in assists per game, which is interesting considering their lack of contribution outside James and Davis. Outside of those two, no other player has produced more than 12.0 points per game. In addition, the depth of scoring in this Lakers team has been a notable concern throughout the entire season. However, this seemed to be non-existent so far during the postseason, with numerous contributions from their role players. The Nuggets are in the same situation, getting a large portion of their offense from their top two players in Murray and Jokic. Just like the Lakers, they don’t have a third player who has averaged 12.0 or more points per game in the playoffs.
Game 1 tips off tonight (9:00 pm eastern time), live from the Orlando ESPN Sports Worldwide Complex. Live coverage broadcasted by ESPN.