Bruce Brown: Lakers Western Conference Finals Series Felt ‘Personal’ To Nikola Jokic & Nuggets
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2023 postseason journey was a roller coaster as after a nail-biting Play-In Tournament victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves, they reached the postseason as the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

From there, they took on a young, but dangerous Memphis Grizzlies team and then the defending champion Golden State Warriors, defeating both in six games after stealing Game 1 on the road.

However, the Western Conference Finals proved to be the Lakers’ toughest test yet. The top-seeded Denver Nuggets were awaiting and would ultimately defeat Los Angeles in four games. The Nuggets had too much offensive firepower for the Lakers to keep up with in terms of Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and former Laker Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, among others.

Another player that was a thorn in the Lakers’ side was Bruce Brown, who they were heavily linked to heading into free agency this summer before he signed with the Indiana Pacers. Brown made an appearance on the Run Your Race Podcast with Theo Pinson to share his thoughts on the Conference Finals, admitting that it was personal for the Nuggets and especially Jokic:

“I think that series for us was more personal than any other series, I don’t know why. But, we were at their neck and talking that shit. I’ve never seen Nikola [Jokic] speak on the court. He wasn’t talking shit, but he was into the game. He was playing no games, like he had something to prove and he’s the best player in the world.”

The Nuggets definitely seemed to take it personally and were locked into this series with their hot scoring throughout the series. However, the Lakers were still in all of games, it came down to crunch time offensive and timely shot-making, which the Nuggets proved to be better in.

While there was theatrics with the players, there was also tension with Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who was complaining about media coverage favoring the Lakers over the Nuggets, win or loss. Malone continued to poke fun at LeBron James and the Lakers after the series was over, which drew a response from the Lakers star after the season.

With rivalries being a rare commodity in today’s NBA, it feels like there is one brewing between these two teams and that should only get even bigger in 2023-24 with both teams having championship aspirations. The Lakers brought back their pieces and improved around the edges, so it’ll be interesting to see if these changes are good enough to take out the reigning champions next season, especially since they no longer have Brown.

Darvin Ham talks about Michael Malone’s comments & Lakers’ budding rivalry with Nuggets

While Darvin Ham recently mentioned that their battles with the Nuggets are far from over, he emphasized that he wants to get his new team in the gym as soon as possible to get on the same page and be able to fight fire with fire.

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Lakers News: D’Angelo Russell’s Confidence Is ‘Through The Roof’ Right Now

D’Angelo Russell continued his unreal tear on Thursday night, knocking down eight 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 29 points…

Recap: Anthony Davis Dominant Once Again Although Lakers See Win Streak Snapped By Suns

Winners of three straight, the Los Angeles Lakers hit the road on Tuesday night facing a tough division opponent in the Phoenix Suns…

Steve Nash Hopes To ‘Bounce Back Quickly’ After Latest Setback

Steve Nash’s time in Los Angeles has been rough to say the…

Lakers News: Julius Randle Doubtful For Tonight’s Game Vs. Warriors

The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a big win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, but did so without starting point guard D’Angelo Russell…