The Lakers went on to win the championship the last time LeBron faced Denver in the Western Conference Finals but he knows this series is a whole different beast.
“They’re a better team,” James said of the current Nuggets, compared to the 2020 Nuggets. “Obviously, they’re more experienced. Every game, every postseason, every matchup allows you to continue to grow as a franchise, as a team, and they’ve done that. So, we come in with the utmost respect for this team that we’re challenged against and playing against, so look forward to the matchup.”
Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr. and Vlatko Cancar are the remaining players from the 2020 Denver team, while LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the only LA players still left from their 2020 title-wining team.
Since 2020, the unstoppable European superstar that is Nikola Jokic has won two straight MVP awards and only narrowly missed out on a third this season.
He is putting up unbelievable numbers in the postseason, besting his regular season stats by averaging 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 9.7 assists on 54.9 percent shooting from the field.
The matchup between Jokic and Anthony Davis will be a must-watch as Davis is averaging league bests in rebounds (14.1) and blocks (3.3).
In the 2020 Lakers-Nuggets series, Jamal Murray was blistering and has been dropping similar numbers this postseason.
The entire Denver team are working in harmony as a deadly playoffs weapon, scoring 118.7 points per 100 possessions this postseason – which is the highest offensive rating by any playoffs team. LA are scoring 111.6 points per 100 possessions.
The matchup is a very intriguing one between a first seeded team that was set to make the playoffs all season, while the Lakers had to grind to get here and turned an injury-plagued season around at the trade deadline.
Both teams have their strengths to play to and are chasing a title for different reasons, so it should be a hard-fought, passionate series.
Game 1 of the Lakers-Nuggets Western Conference Finals series will take place on Tuesday, May 16 at 5:30PM PDT, on Denver’s home court.