In 2008, the Los Angeles Lakers swept the opening round of the playoffs with the Denver Nuggets. And in 2009, the only thing that stood between the Nuggets and the NBA Finals was Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Now three years later, the Nuggets have a brand new team but face a familiar foe in the opening round of the playoffs. Only little used big man Chris Andersen is left from that squad, while the Lakers still have the same core group of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Bryant.
Los Angeles doesn’t have legendary coach Phil Jackson anymore, he has been replaced by Mike Brown. But the Lakers still remain dangerous with their size in the post and with a future Hall of Famer in Bryant.
The Nuggets still have George Karl in control, but have replaced Carmelo Anthony with Danilo Gallinari, Chauncey Billups with Ty Lawson, Nene with JaVale McGee and Kenyon Martin with Kenneth Faried. Oh, and Andre Miller now plays the old role that Anthony Carter had.
In the past Carter and Dahntay Jones were in charge of checking Bryant, but now it is Arron Afflalo and Miller that have the tough task of slowing Bryant. The two have done an admirable job of slowing Bryant, who hasn’t shot over .40 percent in a game against the Nuggets this season.
If the Nuggets have a shot at beating the Lakers, they need to steal a win at Staples Center – where they haven’t had much success over the past few years. The Nuggets have won only 3 of 14 road games against the Lakers, their last win over the Lakers at the Staples Center was last year when Martin tipped in the game winner. Denver needs some of that same magic in this series.
Tags: Andre Miller Andrew Bynum Anthony Carter Arron Afflalo Carmelo Anthony Chauncey Billups Chris Andersen Dahntay Jones Danilo Gallinari Denver Nuggets George Karl J.R. Smith JaVale McGee JR Smith Kenneth Faried Kenyon Martin Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Mike Brown Nene Phil Jackson Ty Lawson