Michael Malone: Nuggets’ Recent Success Vs. Lakers ‘Doesn’t Mean Anything’
Michael Malone, Nuggets, Lakers
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There is simply no getting around the fact that the Denver Nuggets have had the Los Angeles Lakers’ number over the past couple of seasons. Denver swept the Lakers in last year’s Western Conference Finals and won all three meetings this year as L.A. just hasn’t been able to figure them out and execute down the stretch of the many close games between the teams.

As such, the Nuggets are a decent-sized favorite over the Lakers going into this series and rightfully so as they are the defending champions. But in the eyes of Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, all of that recent success against the Lakers means absolutely nothing.

Malone recently spoke about this, noting this is a different Lakers team and it will be a challenge to take them out again, via Vinny Benedetto of the Denver Gazzette:

“The biggest challenge is everyone keeps talking about how we’ve beaten them eight games in a row,” Malone said.

“That doesn’t mean anything. This is a different team, a different series. We know what we have in front of us. It’s going to be a hell of a challenge to beat the Lakers again in the playoffs.”

Malone obviously doesn’t want his team coming into this series overconfident because of their recent success. The majority of those games have been close down the stretch, but Denver has always come out on top. But if the Lakers are able to make a couple more plays here and there, the outcome could be different.

As for what specifically makes the Lakers tough, Malone pointed to two things that the Nuggets will have to keep in check:

“They’re elite in transition. We saw that last night in New Orleans. That starts with LeBron, hell of a transition player,” Malone said. “Then, the paint, they also dominate in the paint. That’s going to be where this series is won or lost – can you slow them down in transition, and can you keep them out of the paint.”

Malone is spot on in identifying where the Lakers are strongest offensively. The Lakers are at their best when their defense is locked in, allowing them to get out on the break while also using their size and physicality to dominate inside.

Neither side is trying to focus on the past history and Malone definitely doesn’t want his Nuggets thinking this will be an easy series. The Lakers will be very motivated to take down the defending champs and believe they have the tools to do so.

LeBron James: Rematch with Nuggets ‘shouldn’t be personal’ to Lakers

LeBron James doesn’t want the Lakers to focus on the past with the Nuggets either, but rather just look at it like a normal playoff series. After all of the back-and-forth in the offseason following the Nuggets’ series victory and championshi,p many would expect the Lakers to take this personal.

But LeBron doesn’t feel that should be the case at all, and would rather they stay focused on executing their game plan.

“It shouldn’t be personal at all,” James said. “I think you allow yourself to get away from the game plan if you make it personal. We have a game plan, just go out there and execute it and you live with the results.”

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

RUMOR: Lakers Plan To Shop Steve Nash’s Expiring Contract

On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers were granted a disabled player exception…

Lakers Video: LeBron James Gets Standing Ovation While Sitting Courtside At Cavaliers-Celtics Game

LeBron James’ sixth season with the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t end how he had hoped with the team being bounced in the first round…

Lakers Hiring Byron Scott ‘Could Happen Next Week’

[new_royalslider id=”302″] It has been almost three months since Mike D’Antoni resigned…

Lakers News: Lakers To Wear Short-Sleeved Jerseys On Christmas Day

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Los Angeles Lakers would be…