Lakers Playoff Schedule 2012: Series with Nuggets Destined to Go the Distance

The Los Angeles Lakers could have drawn the very team that swept them out of the postseason last year in the first round of this year's playoffs. But instead of the Dallas Mavericks, they drew the Denver Nuggets.


Not exactly. The Nuggets are a dangerous team, and they played the Lakers tough in four games during the regular season. The Lakers won three of those four games, but they didn't win any of them by any more than six points. The Nuggets played them tough.

J.A. Adande of classified this series best when he described it as a "great superstar versus communal effort" matchup. The Nuggets will put their no-I-in-team style of play (No. 1 in the NBA in assists) up against the Lakers' star-centric style of play.

For the Lakers, it all revolves around Kobe Bryant (how's that for analysis?). That's an advantage for them simply because he's Kobe Bryant. He knows what to do in the playoffs, and he made it clear during the regular season that rumors of his demise were very much exaggerated. 

Credit where credit's due, the Nuggets handled Kobe quite well during the regular season. In three games against Denver, Kobe averaged just 17.7 points per game with a .275 field goal percentage. It's never easy to say that a given team had Kobe's number, but, well, the Nuggets had Kobe's number.

Denver's ability to defend the Black Mamba will ensure a competitive series. The Lakers will need a complete team effort if they want to compete with the Nuggets, and the Nuggets are better at playing as a team than the Lakers are.

And of course, let's not forget that the Lakers are a man down. Metta World Peace, who played very good basketball in April, will be out of action for the first six games of this series after trying to take James Harden's head off. World Peace played pretty well against Denver this season, especially in the last contest between the two teams on Ap...

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