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Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James dunks during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Lakers and Nuggets set to square off in Western Conference Finals

The NBA is officially down to its final four teams in the bubble. That number will shrink to two as the Los Angeles Lakers face the Denver Nuggets to see who will be crowned the Western Conference champion.

The Lakers tip-off game one against the Nuggets Friday at 9 p.m. The winner of the series will either see the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Season Series

The Lakers and Nuggets played each other four times this season with the Lakers winning three of the four matchups. One of those three wins took place in the bubble with L.A. coming out on top 124-121 on a Kyle Kuzma buzzer-beater.

Although the win-loss-record favors the Lakers, the season series has been competitive. In the Lakers’ three wins, all of the games were within five points in the final five minutes of regulation. The Nuggets sole win came in a 24-point win at the Staples Center in December. LeBron James did not play in that game.

Both Anthony Davis and LeBron James have had success scoring the basketball against Denver. Anthony Davis, averaging 29.3 points, and LeBron James, averaging 28.7 points, were the second and third highest scoring players against the Nuggets this season behind only James Harden.

The two stars for the Nuggets couldn’t match the scoring output of Davis and James. Nikola Jokic averaged 16.3 points against the Lakers this season while Jamal Murray put up 18.5 a game.

Mike Malone spoke on LeBron James. He said he has a lot of respect for him, and he expects James to prepare accordingly.

Down 3-1, Who Cares?

The Nuggets became the first team in NBA postseason history to overcome two 3-1 deficits to reach the conference finals after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games Tuesday. The Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Utah Jazz in the first round.

The young stars of Jokic, 25, and Murray,23, have powered the Nuggets into the conference finals. The duo has spent 457 minutes on the floor together this postseason. That number is the most of any two players in the playoffs.

Murray has improved his playing this postseason increasing his scoring output from 18.5 points a game in the regular season to 26 in the playoffs. Murray has put in three incredible individual performances scoring 50 points twice versus the Jazz and 40 Tuesday night to finish off the Clippers.

Jokic impressed as well increasing his scoring numbers from 20 to 26 points per game in the postseason.

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LeBron Eyes Fourth Ring

The Lakers cruised through the first two rounds of the playoffs beating both the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets in five games. In both of the series, the Lakers lost game one before winning four straight to close out the series.

James is still taking the Nuggets seriously.

This is the Lakers’ first trip to the playoffs with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The team missed the postseason in the 2018-19 before trading for Davis that offseason.

James has almost averaged a triple-double with 26.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists throughout the playoffs. Davis, the Lakers’ other dynamic star, has done his share scoring almost 30 points a game and bringing in just under 11 rebounds.

Before James signed with the Lakers, he made the NBA Finals in eight consecutive seasons. Now, he has his team four wins away from making it back to the Finals and the opportunity to win his fourth NBA Championship.

 

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