The NBA playoffs are starting on Saturday, but the Denver Nuggets have been playing playoff basketball over the last two weeks.
Denver has won six of its last seven games, including big wins at Houston, Phoenix and Oklahoma City.
They may be the hottest team going into the playoffs, playing their best basketball at the right time and are playing with a sense of urgency and confidence.
Now here comes the toughest challenge – How do you beat the No. 3-seeded Los Angeles Lakers?
The Lakers have beaten the Nuggets in three of the four meetings this season, including winning on April 13 without Kobe Bryant.
Bryant will be back for the playoffs, but Los Angeles will play most of the series without small forward Metta World Peace – who was suspended for elbowing James Harden.
Bryant hasn’t played well against the Nuggets this season, shooting only .275 from the field and scoring 17.7 points a contest (down 10 points from his season average of 27.9).
It has been the size of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol that has given the Nuggets fits in the past and this year Bynum may have been the best big man in the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks a game and against Denver he is averaging nearly 25 points and 12 boards a game. It will be important for the Nuggets’ three-headed monster at center (Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov) to slow down Bynum.
No doubt the Lakers will also look at Gasol as well in the post, because he has a good five inches on Kenneth Faried. In the past Denver looked to double team Gasol anytime he had the ball and they may try that again in the playoffs.
it’s a chess match and one that Denver needs to be perfect at.