While the Los Angeles Lakers were able to enjoy another night off from basketball, the L.A. Clippers inexplicably lost to the Denver Nuggets in their second-round matchup.
The Lakers now take on the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, but certainly cannot relax in spite of the long expected matchup failing to come to fruition. Denver has proven they are capable of gutting out tough victories when needed.
Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic are playing at their absolute peak, meaning LeBron James and Anthony Davis will need to match that if they hope to advance to the NBA Finals.
Most of the basketball world was stunned with how the Clippers-Nuggets series unfolded, but Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was one of the few who did not seem surprised at all. “Not really, to be honest,” he said.
“They’re a terrific basketball team and deserve to be in the Western Conference Finals. They’re a handful with the way that they play. The movement, the passing, cutting, obviously Jamal and Joker have been playing at a super high level and they’re playing with a ton of confidence, so I wasn’t surprised.”
Some of the Lakers players, including Alex Caruso have rightfully given the Nuggets their due as they are now the only team in NBA history to come back from multiple 3-1 series deficits in the same postseason.
That is no small feat and an indication that this Denver team is a serious threat to come out of the West, especially if the Los Angeles takes them lightly.
The Lakers fared well against the Nuggets in the regular season and also one their seeding game matchup, but that could easily be thrown out the window in the playoffs.
Frank Vogel on scouting Nuggets
After the Clippers won Game 4 and went up 3-1, it became a natural inclination to wonder what an all-Los Angeles Western Conference Finals would look like.
For the Lakers coaching staff, it also meant they could start to get to work on scouting the Clippers a little more heavily. Of course, the Nuggets made that a fool’s errand as they climbed back into the series.
“Obviously once they win Game 6, you have to prepare for both teams,” Vogel said. “Spent a lot of time looking at these guys, and to me, the confidence that they’re playing with, chip on their shoulder that they’re playing with was really noticeable.
“Obviously they’re a very resilient group to come back from 3-1 twice in the same year. We’re going to have to play great to beat ’em.”
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