Although unexpected, the Western Conference Finals matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets last season was promising to deliver a taste of the NBA’s finest basketball.
The Nuggets were coming off of two spectacular comebacks from a 3-1 deficit including a triumph over the heavily favored L.A. Clippers. Yet, the Lakers rather easily eliminated Denver, winning the series 4-1.
The Nuggets again are high in the Western Conference’s standings early in the 2020-21 campaign. And Anthony Davis thinks they “absolutely” still belong to the group of title favorites together with the two Los Angeles teams and the Brooklyn Nets.
“I know they have a different team and Jerami Grant was a big part of that, but they’re a well-coached and well-rounded team,” he said.
“They’ve always put fear in somebody’s heart. They scare a lot of teams. I’ve always viewed Denver as one of the top teams in the league and capable of beating any team in a seven-game series.”
Davis said he didn’t approach the conference finals rematch against Denver on Thursday hoping to gauge L.A’s current form and overall progress made throughout the season. Rather, the All-Star forward said, he considered the game “a battle between two good teams.”
But Davis did look forward to coming up against Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who is nearly averaging a triple-double this season (26.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.6 assists per game). “He’s a helluva player,” Davis said.
“He’s playing extremely well this season, he’s able to shoot the ball, he’s able to score out of the post, he’s able to pass. He does it all for that team. He brings the ball up and they’re going and setting screens for him. He’s running the action, so he brings a different dynamic than we’ve probably seen this year.
“It’s always fun going up against a player like that.”
Davis hails Lakers’ ‘resiliency’ on road trip
The Lakers are back at Staples Center after ending the seven-game road trip with a 5-2 record. And despite suffering their first road losses of the season, Davis was content with the “resiliency” L.A. showed during the stint.
“We’re a team that’s going to fight,” he said. “We’re a resilient team, being down in Philly and coming back fighting. We’re going to get every team’s best shot. … We’re still trying to figure each other out and how to continue to grow as a team while also saving our legs and things like that.
“But I think we showed we’re a complete team, we showed we’re very together on the floor and we showed our resiliency.”
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