Lakers News: LeBron James Acknowledges Challenges Of Denver Altitude & Differences In Current Nuggets Team
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have two opponents in the Western Conference Finals — the Denver Nuggets and the altitude of the Ball Arena. The Nuggets’ home stadium is 5,280 feet, or one mile, above sea level, earning the “Mile High City” moniker.

It creates a unique home-court advantage with players having to catch their breath more often. LeBron James has spoken about the altitude in recent matchups, specifically in 2021 when he said it wasn’t that much of a factor for him.

However, it still is a major part of the preparation of teams. Through the years, teams have used various strategies to brace themselves for the altitude. Kobe Bryant took matters into his own hands, smoking a cigar the night before a game in Denver to open up his lungs.

It’s unclear if anyone on the Lakers will do the same, but LeBron acknowledged that the altitude is a legit factor, according to Dan Woike of the L.A. Times:

“Yeah, it’s real,” LeBron James said when asked about it. “…You get tired a lot faster than you would if you wasn’t in it.”

The matchup between the Lakers and Nuggets is a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers were able to come out on top in that series, winning in five games. But these are two different teams now.

Only James and Anthony Davis remain from that Lakers team. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are the lone players from Denver. Current Nuggets’ starting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope started for the Lakers then. And two current Lakers — Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley — were on the Nuggets in 2020, though they didn’t play in the playoffs.

LeBron emphasized the differences between this current Nuggets team and the one they played three years ago:

“They’re better,” James said. “But they were great then and they’re great now. I think Joker [Jokic] has gotten two more years under his belt. And Jamal has gotten back to his regular form after the injury. And the rest of those guys have been playing exceptional basketball. They’re a really, really, really, really, really good team.”

In three games against the Nuggets this season, LeBron averaged 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. The Lakers will need that type of production to advance to the NBA Finals.

Film of LeBron being stockpiled by “The Last Dance” Filmmakers

The 2020 release of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary about Michael Jordan’s final season in Chicago served as the perfect way to pass time during the coronavirus. Viewers across the country were glued to their TVs on Sunday nights, looking for an escape from reality.

It seems the same type of documentary may come to life for James. Lakers radio voice John Ireland revealed on the Awful Running podcast that footage is being stockpiled for LeBron’s version of “The Last Dance.”

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Ivica Zubac Excited To Join Lakers, Expects To Make Roster This Season

Thanks to a number of unexpected picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers had a number of intriguing options to pick from when they got on the clock with the 32nd overall pick…

Nick Young’s Resurrection With The Los Angeles Lakers

It feels like a lifetime ago, but in reality, only a few months have passed since the infamous tape recorded by D’Angelo Russell of Nick Young talking about his extracurricular activities outside of his relationship with rapper Iggy Azalea was released.

Lakers Vs. Clippers Preview: Lakers Face Clippers Again

The Los Angeles Lakers will face the Los Angeles Clippers just two…

Russell Westbrook Has ‘No Response’ To Magic Johnson’s Criticism Of Lakers’ Poor Effort

Fans and observers watching the Los Angeles Lakers had a field day when the team no-showed against the Denver Nuggets…