Why the Nuggets vs Lakers matters more than you think

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic boxes out Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic boxes out Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

The NBA season is back underway! The Denver Nuggets are home to face off against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns are away to face off against the Golden State Warriors.

Both are entertaining matchups, especially considering they are the first games of the season. The Suns and Warriors should be a nice game, and it should be interesting to see Chris Paul go against his team from last season and play with Steph Curry and company.

However, the more prized matchup tonight is between the Lakers and the Nuggets. Yes, it is just the first game of the season, but every game is important, especially considering both Los Angeles and Denver are considered in the upper echelon of title contenders in a packed Western Conference.

One thing to note is that the Denver Nuggets will be having their championship ceremony tonight, as they will be handing out championship rings and hoisting the championship banner inside Ball Arena.

Why does that matter? It is nice to give the spoils to the victor, that is the rings and banner. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets are now rivals, especially considering that Denver swept them in the Western Conference Finals on their way to their first NBA championship.

The Lakers want some revenge, and what better way to get some than to beat Denver on opening night? The first game of the season is one of the most important ones, being able to either get a good win straight away or a tough loss.

Jamal Murray says he is not worried about the matchup, adding a little more fuel to the fire for the Lakers to try harder to win.

LeBron James is nearing the end of his career, and he does not want to spend the last few remaining All-Star-caliber years playing on a team that won’t contend for a title. The Lakers’ offseason acquisitions were solid, adding veteran players and drafting well.

Anthony Davis will have his hands full guarding Nikola Jokic. The Finals MVP big man is now considered the best player in the league after dominating the playoffs, which means Davis needs to be on top of his game defensively to stop Jokic from putting on an offensive masterclass.

Davis is considered one of the best defenders in the NBA and is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate for this season if his body holds up. A great defensive game tonight would give him a lot of recognition for that award early on in the season, but that would have to come with limiting Jokic’s success offensively.

A lot of the Lakers’ early success could be correlated to the game against the Denver Nuggets tonight. Sure, it is only one game, but a great win tonight against a powerhouse team like Denver could give Los Angeles some momentum heading into the rest of the season.

As for the Nuggets, if they get a good win, it will show that they are not a good success story for one season. This team could be considered a dynasty if they can maintain the success from last season onward.

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If I had to guess the score, I’d say the Denver Nuggets will win this one against the Los Angeles Lakers 112-108, a close contest.