Last Tuesday, the Denver Nuggets surprised everyone by beating the Los Angeles Clippers, and advancing to the NBA Western Finals. Now Nikola Jokic’s team will face Lebron James’s Los Angeles Lakers. And now, who takes the title?
LAKERS GET TO THAT FINAL AFTER RUNNING OVER THEIR OPPONENTS
Since they arrived at the Orlando dome, the Lakers had been very contested. In the final stages of the regular season, aswel as in the first playoff match against the Blazers, the Lakers were massacred with criticism.
This was due to the lack of intensity that the team had been showing, Very passive marking and a predictability of their actions was a fact. In the first match against the Blazers they suffered with a very vertical, intense marking, and were swallowed by the Portland team.
This scenario repeated itself in the semi finals first game against the Houston Rockets. James Harden’s team, even without a strong game in the key, marked with intensity, the Lakers took a lot time to define their plays and were always well marked.
Houston accelerated in the offensive play, and always find someone free to shoot from the perimeter. Another dangerous defeat.
In the rest, the Lakers activated the playoffs mode, and showed why they are one of the strongest title contenders. Even with a considerable amount of contested players, they showed intensity in order to switch their game model.
Much more active in the marking, against two vertical teams, they have decreased their opponents actions speed. It gave them a lighter defense, contesting the long balls, and yet, with the ability to change to a very strong key game.
“Daddy” LeBron, shows why he is one of the greatest in history. He has played more finals than 21 teams that are today disputing the league. Dominant with the ball, great quality pass, and a partnership with Anthony Davis that is a real absurd.
The Lakers have been the 3rd best defense in the playoffs, with an average of 105.4 points conceded per game. They have also the second best offensive campaign, with 114.1 points scored on average, the second best in rebounds and the team that distributes more assists.
This shows the effective teamwork that they are putting up in the playoffs, and a very well executed collective play ability.
NUGGETS SENT HOME KAWHI’S CLIPPERS
At the beginning of the season, several teams were preparing themselves with famous players for the title dispute.
Clippers were one of those teams, putting up, what in the view of most analysts, was the best roster in the league. Nuggets couldn’t even qualify for the last season playoffs, and in this one they are showing an incredible capacity.
Against the Utah Jazz, aswell as against the Los Angeles Clippers, the series also went to game 7. And this is impressive, because in both opportunities, Denver was losing by 3-1, a game away from elimination.
In total there were 6 games in which the team dealt with the pressure of not affording to lose. In several of these matches, their were behind the score, by a considerable margin. They have showned ability to focus, and a fantastic psychological power.
Any other team, in these situations would surrender as the confidence goes falls to the ground. Denver fought against the best roster and neutralized Clippers main pieces. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were swallowed by a very well executed collective game.
Nuggets are not taking their best numbers for this finals. Especially looking at the series against the Jazz, with high scores, and a long shooting game. But the collective analysis of this team, deserves respect.
It’s a team that shapes itself to the opponent’s model, has good perimeter shooters, has a lot of power in the key, and with a very intense marking. They will be a great opponent for the Lakers.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE WESTERN FINAL?
For the Lakers, much more difficulty than in the semifinal against Houston. While James Harden’s team was abusing of the long shooting, a lighter team instead of a strong one, Denver can be more aggressive in the key, besides having good offensive arguments, and the ability to be strong in the infiltrations and good in the long shooting.
For the Nuggets, they will face a team with high confidence, defensively very good, and way more rested. It’s worth remembering that the Lakers run over two opponents by 4-1, in less exhausting games, while the Nuggets went through two series of 7 games, being behind in all decisive matches.
The favoritism is with the LA Lakers, but it was also with the Clippers. Jokic and Murray’s team will face LeBron and Davis, but they have enough weapons to surprise once again.
NBA predictions: What are this finals best markets?
Before the Clippers, the odds for the Nuggets win were absurd. The handicap lines were well stretched, and throughout the series they proved themselves worthless. The Nuggets are a good team, and some big handicap for the Lakers is not something I’m expecting here.
I don’t like to bet in the favorites to win while on pre-match, since the small odds, and the risk of a balanced game, don’t compensate.
The point lines must be very close, since both defend well, and finals games are usually very intense in the movements without ball.
I prefer to get in the markets while on live, feeling how the game goes. Look for a pre-match line it’s something I don’t recommend.
For individual lines, I obviously quote LeBron James and Anthony Davis, for the Lakers. Especially Davis, who when he played more as an anchor, turned out to be very decisive.
On the Nuggets side, Jokic and Murray. Jokic made a triple-double in game 7 against a great team. Very decisive, great power in the game distribution, besides being very good in the rebounds. Murray is an aggressive player in the infiltrations, and good at long distance shots. Keep an eye on these!