LeBron James: Lakers Must Play ‘Mistake-Free Basketball’ To Defeat Nuggets
LeBron James, Lakers, Nuggets
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have the chance for revenge against the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. It’s well known that Nikola Jokic led Denver to a sweep of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals last year, and the Nuggets were perfect against L.A. during the regular season this year as well.

It is an uphill battle without a doubt for the Lakers to take down the Nuggets, who have simply had their number as of late. But the team is embracing the challenge and LeBron knows the Lakers must play at an extremely high level just to have a chance.

Following the Lakers’ Play-In Tournament victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, LeBron turned his attention towards the Nuggets and he feels they can’t afford to make any mistakes if they plan on challenging the defending champions, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“It’s the defending champions, they know what it takes, they know how to win. Extremely dominant on their home floor over the last few years. They got an MVP on their team, the got a closer on their team, they got high level players, high IQ players and a hell of a coach. We have to play mistake-free basketball to make it tough on them, they’re gonna try to make it tough on us obviously. But we’re gonna play the greatest game we can play, they’re gonna play the greatest game they can play and it’s gonna come down to one or two possessions and we’ll see who executes then.”

The Nuggets are so difficult to defeat because they are extremely efficient offensively and are one of the best teams at executing down the stretch, which is often where the Lakers have lost these games. As James noted, it usually comes down to just a couple of possessions and time after time Denver has out-executed the Lakers, and the rest of the league for that matter.

One good thing for the Lakers is that they have a few days off before the first round series begins and LeBron plans on getting some much-needed recovery:

“This was a long ass road trip. Almost forget that we were in Memphis before these two games. Tonight was definitely a playoff game so getting your mind right and getting your body right, trying to get as much recovery as we can before we have to go out there on Saturday versus Denver. So that’s the main thing.”

After dealing with the physicality of Zion Williamson for back-to-back games, the Lakers must now deal with another physical force in Jokic. But with LeBron and Anthony Davis at the forefront, the Lakers plan on being ready to go for what will be the ultimate challenge.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis credit rest of Lakers for stepping up vs. Pelicans

One thing that certainly can’t happen against the Nuggets is LeBron James and Anthony Davis shooting a combined 12-of-36 from the field as was the case against the Pelicans in the Play-In Tournament. Thankfully the rest of the team stepped up and the two superstars gave them some deserved praise.

Both LeBron and Davis credited the role players such as Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Gabe Vincent for their offensive performance in the win while adding that they made it a point to focus on other areas in making an impact while their shots weren’t falling.

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