First Look: The Lakers discuss the challenge ahead with Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets

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Anthony Davis smiled and looked Lebron James Sitting next to him on the podium, the two Lakers stars and leaders admitted that they had already given some thought to playing the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

the lakers The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors had just been dispatched by winning the best-of-seven semifinal series 4–2. 122-101 win There was joy inside the universe on Friday night and in LA's locker rooms and Arena.

Sure, it was time to cheer for the Lakers, with three days off to reset before meeting the Nuggets in Game 1 on Tuesday night in Denver, Golden State's Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. To recalibrate after dealing with the dreaded trio.

The preparation never stops for Davis and James, and so they looked back to 2020, when the Lakers defeated the Nuggets in five games in the Western Conference Finals in a bubble at Walt World Sports Campus near , Fla.

Here are the Lakers and Nuggets again, ready to meet again with a chance to reach the NBA Finals on the line.

“It's funny, but me and Braun talked about it before, about going back and watching that series to figure out what we did,” Davis said late Friday after the post. How to match the best and win.” Double-double of 17 points and 20 rebounds. “So, we'll go back and look at it. I think the biggest key will be finding the ball to the guys we want to find it, just stay away from it.

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The Lakers and Nuggets split the 2022–23 regular season series 2–2, with each winning their respective games at home.

The games were played before being traded by the Lakers that put him in this position, with the acquisition Rui Hachimura, D'Angelo Russell, Jared Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley.

Ironically, the Lakers' first win of the season was a 121–110 defeat of the Nuggets, snapping a five-game losing streak to start the season.

While the Lakers were trying to find their footing, the Nuggets were following along. They posted the best record in the Western Conference at 53–29.

They have one of the best players in the NBA in the form of two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. With his running partner, guard Jamal Murray, the Nuggets have a lethal pick-and-roll tandem.

,They've been the No. 1 team in the West for a reason,” said James, who scored 30 points on 10-for-14 shooting with nine rebounds and nine assists on Friday. “He's played exceptional basketball all year long. And we're going to have the utmost respect for his ballclub. He's coached very well and obviously we know Joker's dynamics.” [Jokic] Brings that into the game and Jamal Murray being fully healthy as well. And those other people.

Lakers guard Austin Reeves, center, celebrates with teammates as he walks to the bench during a timeout.
Lakers guard Austin Reeves, center, celebrates with teammates as he goes for a timeout on the bench during the first half of Game 6 on Friday night. (Wally Scalise / Los Angeles Times)

“So, tomorrow is a day for us to take a little break from the game. Just relax and unwind a bit with our families. But Sunday and Monday and then part of Tuesday before the game starts, we'll lock in on what we need to do to try to be our best versus a very good – a very good – and well-coached team . But I am waiting for its arrival.

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In four games against the Lakers this season, Jokic averaged 23.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 9.8 assists and 2.3 steals. In his three games against the Nuggets, Davis averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds.

In a six-game series against the Phoenix Suns, a series Denver won 4–2, Jokic was a beast. He averaged a triple-double of 34.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 10.3 assists.

lakers coach darwin ham Wanted to enjoy his team's win over the Warriors and wait for Jokic to talk about game-planning.

“If you're around on Sunday, I'll let you know. You're not going to press the fast-forward button on me fast enough,” Ham said with a smile. “We already know the monster that's waiting on us in the Rocky Mountains.”

Ham knows that Jokic is going to be a tough task for his group.

But he will have the Lakers ready for the challenge.

Ham said, “You're talking about a two-time MVP, a well-balanced team, with hunger, great synergy, great chemistry, great ability, athleticism, shooting, all of the above.” “So, we're going to have our cut out for us, but they're going to guard us as well, so we're going to do our due diligence like we always do and get ready for Game 1, but right now, we' I'm going to soak it all up and try to enjoy it tonight, fill our cups back up tomorrow and be ready to go back to work on Sunday.

Davis recalled perhaps the biggest moment of his career in the 2020 playoffs against the Nuggets.

There were two seconds left in Game 2 of that Western Conference Finals series and the Lakers were down by one point. Davis broke into the corner and took an inbound pass from Rajon Rondo.

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Davis pulled up and drilled a three-pointer for the win, giving the Lakers a 2–0 in the series, which they won in five.

Davis shouted “Kobe” after the ball was lodged in the net, which became known as “themamba shotIn honor of the great Kobe Bryant.

Davis was asked about it on Friday night.

“That was a game, though,” he said. “But s—. I mean, damn it. … Hope they don't fix me. Hope I get another one in this series.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times,