Denver Nuggets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Playoff History
Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, Lakers, Nuggets
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After winning their way through the NBA Play-In Tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers have earned the seventh seed in the Western Conference, setting up a first-round playoff matchup with the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

This is, of course, a rematch of the 2023 Western Conference Finals when the Nuggets would sweep the Lakers on their way to their first NBA Championship.

These two teams have a long history of meeting in the NBA Playoffs, however, with L.A. getting the better of Denver until that 2023 series.

Here’s a look back on each time the Lakers have faced the Nuggets in the Western Conference playoffs.

2023 Western Conference Finals

After losing to the Lakers the first seven times they met in the playoffs, the Nuggets finally got their revenge in 2023.

The Lakers made an unexpected run to the Western Conference Finals despite being the seventh seed. They felt confident going into the series, although the Nuggets quickly showed why they were the top seed and eventual NBA Champions.

Denver would go on to sweep L.A., although all four games were close and basically came down to the wire. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Nuggets were able out-execute the Lakers in every game though, earning a sweep and their first trip to the NBA Finals.

2020 Western Conference Finals

The Lakers making the Western Conference Finals in the Orlando Bubble was not a surprise considering they were the top seed and would eventually go on to win the championship. The Nuggets being there was surprising though after overcoming a 3-1 deficit to beat the L.A. Clippers a round prior.

While the Nuggets were a solid team, they were still too young and inexperienced to keep up with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers. Davis notably made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win Game 2 and take a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Denver was able to bounce back and win Game 3, but that was all they would get as the Lakers took Games 4 and 5 to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals.

2012 Western Conference First Round

In what would be the Lakers’ most recent playoff series before the LeBron James era, L.A. fought until the very end against a gritty Nuggets roster. After trading Carmelo Anthony, Denver was led by Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried, and gave an aging Lakers roster trouble over seven games.

Led by Kobe Bryant, who averaged 29.1 points per game for the series, the Lakers were able to survive a 3-1 comeback by Denver with a 96-87 Game 7 victory. They won the series but would be eliminated the following round by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

2009 Western Conference Finals

After defeating the Rockets in the second round, the Lakers faced the Nuggets in the Conference Finals. In 2009, L.A. faced one of the best teams in Nuggets franchise history, led by Anthony, Chauncey Billups, JR Smith, Nene and Kenyon Martin.

Ultimately, Bryant’s 34 points per game and Pau Gasol’s 17.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per night proved to be too much. The Lakers closed the series in six games and went on to win the 2009 NBA championship.

2008 Western Conference First Round

The season before meeting in the conference finals, the Lakers and Nuggets played in the first round in what many hoped would be a title run for Bryant and Gasol. While they would eventually lose in the 2008 Finals to the Boston Celtics, they had absolutely no problems with the Nuggets.

Gasol and Bryant were completely dominant, and Luke Walton shined off the bench. Meanwhile, L.A.’s defense swarmed an offensively talented Denver team, sweeping the series by an average margin of 13.3 points per game.

1987 Western Conference First Round

L.A. needed just three games to take care of a lowly No. 8-seeded Nuggets team. Alex English, Fat Lever and Blair Rasmussen were the three main options in Denver, but they had absolutely nothing for Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy.

The Lakers won 3-0 by an average margin of 27.3 points per game, including a 140-103 win in Game 3 and would eventually win the 1987 NBA Finals against the Celtics.

1985 Western Conference Finals

It was more of the same story two years earlier when L.A. faced the Nuggets in the penultimate round of the postseason. English was joined by a slightly better supporting cast including Dan Issel and Calvin Natt, but the Showtime Lakers were simply on a different level.

Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar and Worthy would lift the Lakers to a 4-1 series victory by dominating in almost every facet. A 153-109 win in Game 5 solidified the Lakers’ spot in the Finals against the Celtics, where they would win the championship.

1979 Western Conference First Round

The first playoff matchup ever between these two teams saw Abdul-Jabbar carry a lackluster team past Issel and David Thompson when first round series were only a best-of-three.

It took all three games, and the Lakers narrowly eliminated the Nuggets, winning the final game by just one point. They then fell to the Seattle SuperSonics in just five games the following round.

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

LaVar Ball Doesn’t Appreciate His Family Being Compared To Kardashians

The Ball family has taken the world by storm over the last year with father LaVar making headlines everywhere for some of his outlandish statements…

Kobe Bryant Remains Second Among West Guards In Third All-Star Returns

Kobe Bryant is moving closer to being voted to start his 17th…

Lakers Rumors: 3-Point Shooting A Top Priority This Offseason

The Los Angeles Lakers have the month of June to figure out their plans for the 2023 offseason, as the NBA Draft sits less than…

Jordan Hill’s Limited Minutes Dates Back to D’Antoni-Knicks Era

Jordan Hill is one of the best players the Los Angeles Lakers…