Lakers Ready to Reaffirm Bubble Was No Joke


The story couldn’t have been written any better. It’s a rematch straight from the bubble between the Lakers and Nuggets.

Except this time, the Nuggets are the league’s best regular-season team and the Lakers have fought tooth and nail from the play-in tournament as the No. 7 seed.

The Lakers now find themselves four wins away from an NBA Finals appearance, as if them coming this far didn’t seem impossible to begin with.

These four wins must come against arguably the best team in the NBA, however, and the best player in the world that is left in the playoffs — Nikola Jokić. The Joker and his supporting cast are the best that they have ever been, especially in comparison to the 2020 Western Conference Finals.

Both teams have been through the ringer and now find themselves back where they met before. If not about beating the bubble allegations, this matchup is about resilience and grit in what is going to be one of the best series’ of basketball that we have seen in a while.

So how can the Lakers win?


For the entirety of this playoff run, we have seen Darvin Ham and the Lakers flex their ability to seemingly adjust to any team and any game plan they are faced with. Against Memphis, LA met force with force against the tough and gritty Grizzlies. Against Golden State, they did a full 180 and displayed their speed in keeping up with the fast tempo and tremendous spacing of the Warriors.

The Lakers now have a chance to add those two playing styles together in their next matchup against Denver. The Nuggets offense is among the most efficient in the league, and they do this with tempo, adequate spacing and brute force when Joker can find his spots in the paint.

This Laker roster is almost perfectly capable of adapting in this way which is why we saw success in the first two rounds. What is great about this matchup is that LAL can now revert back to a style of play that they are more familiar with.


It isn’t far-fetched to say that Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokić have been the two best players in this year’s playoffs. Between Joker’s effortlessly-magical offensive ability and AD having a historically-dominant defensive playoff run, we are in store for a Wilt-Russell-esque matchup in this series.

But how do the Lakers optimize this matchup?

Mirror AD’s minutes with Jokić’s. Anthony Davis has always that this incredible ability to wear out his matchups on both sides of the floor. And with Davis having the advantage on the offensive side of the ball, he is one of the only people in the world that can do what hasn’t been achieved yet these playoffs — slow down Jokić.

Needless to say, we are in for a matchup of the ages.


As mentioned earlier, the Nuggets are a perfect medium of Memphis’ force and Golden State’s speed. Although they are a far more well-rounded team than both. So this matchup is relatively familiar for the Lakers.

One thing that isn’t familiar in this series, though, is the defense that Denver is going up against this round. With all due respect to Minnesota and Phoenix, the Nuggets haven’t seen a defense as dominant, intense and versatile as Los Angeles’. With that said, Denver does have the best offense in the league, but the Lakers have been tested more on the defensive end than the Nuggets have on the offensive end. This gives LA a slight edge.


Denver is, without a doubt, the most respected team in the Association. No team should take them lightly. But down the stretch of the series, it is hard to bet against LeBron James and Anthony Davis in a playoff series, especially with a trip to the finals on the line. They are tested, slightly rested and more hungry than anything.

With arguably the best duo in the league and a roster capable of exploiting many of Denver’s lineups, a series win isn’t as improbable as many should think. I, along with many Laker fans around the world, have learned to trust LeBron and AD in any playoff capacity when healthy. I also believe that the winner of this year’s NBA Championship is coming out of the West, regardless of who wins. LA has shown that they can match any matchup, intensity and road obstacle.

Lakers in 7.

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