A recap of the Eastern Conference Finals: Lakers vs. Nuggets

Shen Yang-Lim, Sports

The NBA playoffs have been full of surprises so far, with many upsets and Game 7 thrillers such as the Boston Celtics and reigning champs Toronto Raptors dueling it out, with Boston advancing. The topseed Milwaukee Bucks, led by back to back MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo, had a disappointing exit to the underdog fifth seed Miami Heat, with the talented duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo along with a slew of young and upcoming stars such as Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. 

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets series was one of the most anticipated series in the playoffs, with both teams coming in very dangerous. The Denver Nuggets squad consisted of breakout star point guard Jamal Murray, a talented do-it-all center in Nikola Jokic and a bench with many assets such as Jerami Grant and Paul Millsap. Grant is averaging about 12 points a night, and Millsap is a former All-Star with lots of veteran experience. They came back down from two 3-1 deficits and defeated the Utah Jazz and the number two seed, the Los Angeles Clippers. 

“They gotta worry about us too,” said Murray to the Lakers.

On the other hand, The Los Angeles Lakers were also looking very deadly with superstar Lebron James in his 17th year in the league, but has shown no signs in slowing down his game. This season he’s consistently put up around 25 points  on 49 percent shooting, eight rebounds and 10 assists. James is accompanied by All-Star big man Anthony Davis, who is a total nightmare for opposing teams. Davis is a legitimate offensive threat and can attack anywhere: inside the paint, midrange and even shoot the three ball. The Lakers acquired Davis in a blockbuster trade with New Orleans in the offseason of 2019. The Lakers also have depth in their bench, with X-factor Alex Caruso, resurging center Dwight Howard, and young gun Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers previously eliminated the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers. 

“The Lakers are a different team than the Clippers. They have better team chemistry and more veteran leadership, and will be a more formidable opponent,” said Shayaan Nazeer, sophomore at Apex High and a superfan of the Lakers.

Both teams were coming in hot in their first matchup  Sept. 18, with the Lakers pulling away and getting the win 126-114. Game two was much more intense with the game close at 102-103, Lakers losing by one point in the final seconds. But then when all hope was lost, Anthony Davis came in clutch and knocked down the huge game winning three from the left wing. The Nuggets were demoralized after the shot which gave them a 2-0 deficit.

“That’s a shot Kobe Bryant would hit,” said Frank Vogel, Lakers coach to CBS Sports.

Game Three of the West Finals would result in a Nuggets win 114-106, with Murray stuffing the score sheet with 28 points and 12 assists. Grant also contributed 26 points to the winning effort. James’ triple double was not good enough to stop them. Game four would be when the Lakers went on to defeat the Nuggets.  114-108 would be the final score, the Lakers won yet again. The last game ended up with the Lakers winning 117-107 and them moving on the the Finals 

“The Lakers always learn from their mistakes and improve on them after every game, they only get better,” said Nazeer.

 Game Five would be the last of the Nuggets season as they were sent home packing, 117-107. “We had a lot of fight in us, we just didn’t want to quit,” said Jokic, the center of the Nuggets.