After 82 games of NBA Basketball, the 1 vs. 8 Matchup in the West is finally set. With the Mavericks victory over the Hornets Wednesday night, the Lakers will host the Denver Nuggets this Sunday as the NBA Playoffs take center stage.
Rather than bore you with the statistics on how superior the Lakers are to the Nuggets, in sweeping the season series, I’m going to look past that and go to my well-known TLN post-game format. Instead of the top three Laker performers of the game, I’m going to let you know which three Lakers need to step up against Denver so we can take care of them quickly…
1) Lamar Odom needs to continue to play like he has since Gasol arrived. It’s not a coincidence that the Lakers are 22-5 with Gasol in the lineup. Since the trade, Lamar has done incredible, and he will be the key for the Lakers in this series. Kenyon Martin is as healthy as he has been since they got beat by the Clippers in 2006. Lamar’s versatility should help slow down K-Mart (and possibly Carmelo at times). Look for Lamar to average 15 and 12.
2) We have all seen Derek Fisher play in the playoffs before, so I’m not too worried about him. But Farmar is still young and we need him to carry our bench. Not only does he need to make those open threes, but he will also have to help slow down A.I. Farmar has been pretty streaky this year, and when he is at his best, the Lakers look unstoppable. Hopefully, Farmar brings his “A” game.
3) Either Vlad Rad or Luke must show up in this series. We need production from the SF position. Vlad Rad has been streaky this year with his shot. Luke has looked like garbage for most of the season. If they aren’t hitting their shots, they MUST be doing their part on defense to slow down Melo.
STD: Hopefully, the STD of the series is Ira Newble. The reason I say this is because if he plays, most likely the Lakers are up by 30 points.
What to Look For in the Series: Look for a ton of scoring from the Lakers. Both teams average over 108 PPG and love to run.
My Prediction: Lakers in 5 games.
Fans Attending the Games: BE LOUD! Be early! Show that Purple & Gold. Represent L.A. with your car flags and TLN with those Kobe/Gasol ’08 bumper stickers! Go Lakers!