The Los Angeles Lakers won a thrilling contest in Denver on Wednesday, getting to the All-Star break on a high note. It was their second win in three tries against the Nuggets, both on the road with their only loss coming in a game without LeBron James.
The Lakers went down big early but came back almost immediately and withstood a frantic finish to win in overtime. After the game, Lakers guard Avery Bradley talked about the importance of beating the second seed in the Western Conference on their home court for the second time:
Avery Bradley called it "really important" to beat the No. 2 Nuggets twice on the road, especially if they see them down the road in the playoffs with homecourt advantage. "I think in a way, they’re already defeated, seeing that we already beat them twice on their own court."
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 13, 2020
That is a pretty spicy quote from Bradley and you know people will be waiting to throw that at the Lakers’ faces if they happen to lose to the Nuggets in the postseason.
There’s also at least a micron of truth to it. The Nuggets are a great, deep team (who were missing three major rotation pieces last night) but they’re also fairly inexperienced and have a unique hierarchy on the team led by star center Nikola Jokic. They were up 13 when Monte Morris talked some trash to wake up LeBron and the Lakers came roaring back.
The Lakers also pose a difficult matchup for Denver due to the wealth of athletic big men they have that can put pressure on Jokic on both ends of the floor.
Still, it’s rare to find a player on a Lakers team that has been very grounded in its confidence stating some bulletin board material for a potential playoff opponent. I, for one, absolutely love it.