The Western Conference finals could wrap up on Saturday night as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the series, one win away from the NBA Finals.
Down three games to one? This is right where the Nuggets want to be. Or, would want to be against any team but to the Lakers.
Having to beat a LeBron James and Anthony Davis team three times in a row is something nobody would be envious of. In the same thought, nobody thought they could do it against the Clippers.
If they can pick up a win Saturday night, the Nuggets can knock the magic number down to two. Anything is truly possible, as we’ve seen them make this comeback against both the Jazz and Clippers in these playoffs. If they are actually able to pull it off, they are the most impressive team in playoff history, no questions asked.
The Lakers hope to stomp out the Nuggets’ fire out, though, and put the series to bed. They led for much of Game 4 and nearly blew their once-large lead.
But they held on to win, to go up 3-1. Had Davis missed the game-winning three that he made at the buzzer in Game 2, we would be looking at a much different series. But we can’t hypothesize.
Like the last game, the Lakers are favored by six points in Game 5. The over/under is set at 215.
Denver Looks to Survive
Game 5 has been the Nuggets’ niche this postseason. They have begun their historic comebacks in those games.
Well, they had to win them to survive. But win, they did. The Celtics beat the Heat in their Game 5 Friday night, which should help the case further of this being a winnable elimination game.
With foul trouble plaguing Paul Millsap, Denver played Mason Plumlee alongside Nikola Jokic for stretches of Game 4, and it didn’t work at all. Plumlee never looks at the rim, and it made the Lakers’ defensive scheme as strong as ever. He should play as few minutes as possible in this game, as he’s just not a good fit here.
Monte Morris was exceptional in the last game, which helps the team forget how bad Gary Harris was again. He has to be able to make shots and defend better. He is essential to their success.
Lakers Look to Book Finals Ticket
It’s been a decade, but the Lakers are finally on the precipice of reaching the NBA Finals again. It will take one more win, and then they’re all set. But they have to beat a squad that made this same series comeback against a team with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on it.
If they follow their gameplan and get off to a strong start, it should be very doable. Dwight Howard‘s insertion into the starting lineup paid huge dividends in Game 4.
He picked up several second-chance baskets and extended multiple possessions with his size. It was able to take attention away from Davis’ lack of rebounding.
And we know that James will be hungry in Game 5. After eight straight trips to the NBA Finals, injuries kept him and his team from even making the playoffs last year.
Nuggets Keep It Close Again
The series has favored the Lakers so far, but things could soon change. Never count out Murray, Jokic and co.
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