All season long, analysts and fans alike pitted the two Los Angeles teams against each other and for good reason as the Lakers and Clippers were considered to be the two favorites to make it out of the Western Conference.
The 2020 NBA Playoffs were going according to plan, with the Lakers able to eliminate the Houston Rockets in five games in the Western Conference semifinals, while the Clippers were up 3-1 against the Denver Nuggets.
It seemed inevitable that the two would finally meet in the playoffs. But Denver came roaring back and defeated the Clippers in seven games, a stunning upset to say the least.
The way the Clippers presented themselves throughout the season came back to bite them in the end as the basketball world piled on after their epic Game 7 collapse that featured an absolute meltdown in the fourth quarter.
Lakers fans in particular had the most fun at their expense, letting jokes constantly fly across social media. Although the rabid fanbase had their fun, Kyle Kuzma and the rest of the team did not seem to take any additional satisfaction from seeing their Staples Center co-tenants get sent home earlier than expected.
“No, not really,” Kuzma said. “We’re not focused on the Clippers and we never really were. It’s all about who’s in front of you.
“When you focus on other teams, instead of taking care of your food, [expletive] happens like that. For us, we’ve always focused on us, then focused on Portland, focused on Houston, and controlled what we can control as a team. Now our focus is on Denver.”
The Lakers have done nothing but quell any concerns about their play during the postseason, enforcing their will on both ends and taking care of business when they needed to. Kuzma has been a big part of that, playing the type of defense and making the right reads on offense that give fans confidence he can be the team’s third-best player on any given night.
Lakers again resting before playoff series
By eliminating their opponent in five games, the Lakers again were left with substantial rest between playoff series. They had several days off before each of the first two rounds, only to suffer a Game 1 loss both times.
“We did everything we can to win both of those Game 1s,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “It didn’t go our way, it’s obviously not the plan, and we’re approaching these two days to do everything we can from a preparation standpoint to win Game 1.”
Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals is Friday, amounting to six days off for the Lakers.
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