Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic Discusses Potential Playoff Matchup With Lakers
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

While the Los Angeles Lakers did pick up a win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday, it was not because they shut down MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic. As he has been all season, he was solid against the Lakers with 32 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.

Where the Lakers succeeded was shutting down everyone else, forcing Jokic to win by himself. This would appear to be their game plan in the event that the Lakers and Nuggets met in the first round, which is looking like one of the most likely matchups in the opening series.

Jokic spoke about potentially facing the Lakers in the playoffs, and said if the Nuggets want to win it all, the defending champs are a team they’ll have to go through, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post:

Jokic also specifically shouted out Marc Gasol, who was tasked with defending him for a significant portion of the game, doing a great job in the process:

The Nuggets star would definitely have his work cut out for him if the Lakers and Nuggets do meet in the first round of the postseason. However, some things in the standings will have to shift in order to make that happen.

If the season ended today, the Lakers would face the L.A. Clippers as the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds. Meanwhile, the 3-seeded Nuggets would take on the Dallas Mavericks. However, the Nuggets and Clippers are currently tied for the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, while the Lakers, Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers are in a tight battle to avoid the No. 7 play-in spot.

Over the next seven regular-season games, those standings could completely shift. Avoiding the play-in is the top priority, but securing a first-round matchup with the Nuggets would be a lot better than having to face the Clippers right off the bat.

Jokic appears ready for any outcome, as he knows he’ll have to beat some incredible teams to have a chance at the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Matthews says Lakers need more after win over Nuggets

The Lakers defeating the Nuggets is certainly a big deal given what they’ve been dealing with the last couple of weeks. However, Wesley Matthews warned about getting complacent, saying the team needs more.

“Obviously it’s one win, it’s a big win, but we need more. We’re not just gonna be like ‘OK, we beat the Denver Nuggets.’ What about the last six games? We got to continue to build on what we did, enjoy this one and get back to scrapping and fighting again.”

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