May 1, 2012 Leave a comment
Co-Written by Hunter Black-Mamba & Eric Busta-Mamba
The #3 Los Angeles Lakers take on the #6 Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. LakerMagic looks at that series in depth as the Lakers begin their “Road to Redemption”.
The Nuggets and Lakers have met numerous times in the NBA playoffs so there is some familiarity between the teams. That said, the Lakers have dominated the series history on their way to taking 8 out of 9 series in the playoffs. Due to this dominance, it’s no wonder LakerMagic is stressing that Denver is the better matchup to Dallas for the Lakers in the first round.
The Lakers come into the series with three all-stars in Bryant, Bynum and Gasol that all have extensive playoff experience. They should be able to dominate a young Denver team that doesn’t even have an all-star on the roster. Look for Kobe to average anywhere from 23-28 ppg in this series.
The Lakers also have two future Hall of Fame big men in Gasol and Bynum who should dominate the undersized Nuggets. Denver will put up the likes of JaVale McGee and Timothy Mozgov in attempt to slow down the Lakers’ twin towers. If the Lakers play inside-out and utilize their size advantage, this should be an easy series for the Lakers.
The Nuggets come into the series as the highest scoring team in the NBA. They did this by controlling tempo and getting up and down the floor. Point guards Ty Lawson and Andre Miller will try to speed things up against an older, slower Lakers squad. If they are successful in this task they could steal a game or two from the Lakers.
Denver may also have the coaching edge as Nuggets Coach George Karl has always gotten the most out of his players. Look for Karl to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Kobe and the Lakers in attempt to pull off the unlikely upset.
Matchup to Watch
SG Kobe Bryant vs. Arron Afflalo
The Black Mamba has more experience and skill than fellow SG Arron Afflalo and should get his shots in this serious. However, don’t expect it to come easy for Bryant as Afflalo is one of the better defenders in the league at the two-guard position. While Afflalo will often cover Kobe one-on-one, expect the Nuggets to throw lots of double teams the Mamba’s way as they attempt to make things difficult for the Lakers star. Lakers fans can expect physicality, trash-talking and an elbow or two as the Nuggets attempt to limit the Mamba’s productivity.
Los Angeles Lakers
SF Metta World Peace (Out 6 games, Suspension) – Metta World Peace will make the first six games of this series, if it even gets that far. Devin Ebanks will start and Matt Barnes will log minutes at SF when he returns from his ankle injury.
SF Matt Barnes (Day-to-Day, Ankle) – Matt Barnes will try to tough it out as he recovers from an ankle injury suffered late in the regular season. With World Peace out for most of the series, the Lakers will need Barnes to step up on both ends of the floor.
SF Wilson Chandler (Out for Season, Hip) – The most versatile player in the Nuggets roster will miss the entire postseason with a hip injury that required surgery. Denver will miss Chandler while Danilo Gallinari will play more minutes.
Best Case Scenario for Lakers: 4-game sweep
Best Case Scenario for Nuggets: 7-game series