The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves patiently waiting once again to prepare for their next opponent in the NBA Playoffs after taking care of the Houston Rockets in five games in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Despite being the No. 1 seed in the West, the Lakers lost many perks that came with home-court advantage due the necessitation for a bubble. In fact, they have actually had their work cut out having to wait for the Portland Trail Blazers win the eighth seed before waiting on an opponent for the second round.
Contrary to the Lakers, the Denver Nuggets have made a habit of stretching each playoff series to its limit before emerging as the victor. Their efforts to force a Game 7 with the L.A. Clippers have given the Lakers ample time to rest once again.
“It’s just impressive the fight that Denver shows,” Alex Caruso said. “They were down 3-1 in the first series, everybody counted them out, and they won three in a row. They were down 3-1 this series, I think everybody counted them out, and here they are again forcing a Game 7. It will be interesting to see how they respond.
“It’s a big emotional, as well as physical task, to come back from that many games down. Looking forward to it. Obviously whoever we play is going to be a good team, playing well, because they’ve had to beat some good people to get there.”
Although a stretch of rest has been followed by the Lakers twice losing Game 1 of a playoff series, Caruso felt there was improvement against the Rockets and believes that can be built upon.
“As far as us being ready, I think we were a little better the first game against Houston than we were against Portland. Hopefully we’ll take a little step further, we’ll have some practices and probably play live again before we play on Friday,” he said.
“Just trying to stay in as much rhythm and competitive mindset as we can. I think that’s really the biggest thing is, not physically being ready, because physically we’re the best athletes in the world. We’ll physically be ready to go. But mentally being able to get to the point where the sense of urgency is high and you’re playing like it’s do or die, and you didn’t just have five days off.”
LeBron James: Lakers defense hitting stride at ‘right time’
Caruso is not the only one that is optimistic about the progress Los Angeles has made during the season restart. LeBron James has also expressed confidence the team has established a good rhythm that started with their efforts on the defensive end.
“We had some good months, we had some great months, we had a couple weeks we were not that good defensively, but we’re hitting our stride at the right time,” James noted. “I think for us we continue to get better and better throughout this postseason run so far, and we want to continue that going into the next round.”
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