The Denver Nuggets killed the prospects of an all-Los Angeles Conference Finals a big share of the NBA community dreamed of, eliminating the L.A. Clippers in the previous playoff round to pull off one of the postseason’s biggest upsets.
Broadcasters and analysts had been incessantly talking up the idea of a Battle of L.A conference finals before Denver’s victory in Game 7. But the Lakers did not root for either team and instead just sat down, relaxed, and patiently waited to learn their next opponent as the enthralling series was unfolding.
“It’s not a let down for us. We focused on our team,” Anthony Davis said about missing out on the clash with the Clippers.
“That’s just kind of been the thing around the league, especially with a team that’s been down 3-1 before. You knew it was going to be a good game. But our focus isn’t on the Clippers or ‘Battle of L.A.’ It’s more so what can we do to finish our season strong?”
That is not to say the Lakers were not doing their due diligence. LeBron James followed the series from a fan’s standpoint and enjoyed the entertainment aspect of it but also did a fair share of scouting.
“I was trying to get as many logging minutes for myself personally, scouting both teams at the same time, because we knew Game 7 would decide who we would play. That was kind of my mindset,” James explained.
And even though he did not want to comment on the outcome of the series, James did not resist a dig at the Clippers. When asked whether he is disappointed for missing a chance to demonstrate which L.A. team is best, he answered, “Nah. What were we settling?”
LeBron finishes second for MVP
If James ever needed an extra motivator to win the championship with the Lakers this season, losing to Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2020 MVP race might turn out to be exactly that.
Antetokounmpo has been voted MVP for the second season in a row, claiming this year’s Defensive Player of the Year Award as well.
The Bucks forward finished the voting with 962 points, earning 85 out of 100 potential first-place votes. James garnered 753 points, receiving 16 first-place votes.
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