80327527NG026_NUGTS_LAKERSAnother series brings, positively enough, a blank slate, wiped clean of the ridiculousness of the last series, and itching to be filled with the knowledge required to overcome the Denver Nuggets’ in the Western Conference Finals.

Despite constant regular season victories when pitted against Denver, the Lakers learned from Houston that the implications of postseason can alter the entire façade that a team is normally built around.

Game 1 calls for us to proceed with caution, our overconfidence dragged on a series much longer than necessary, and we should be playing with the same urgency as any team that steps foot on the court with us. We will not have an accurate idea of how to play against Denver, until we complete Game 1.

Denver’s usual starting clique is led in scoring during the Playoffs by small forward Carmelo Anthony and point guard Chauncey Billups; both have been averaging over 20 points per game. That, in itself, is a force to be reckoned with, not to mention Nene and K-Mart who are considered to be quite formidable foes in the paint.

But it isn’t as if the Lakers don’t have a complete defensive match with every one of those players.

It just depends on if we actually feel like playing defense. We seemed very much attuned to our defensive flow in Game 7 against the Rockets. Trevor Ariza hushed Ron Artest to silence, and blocked a couple shots as well. Let’s not forget Kobe, who put up 4 steals for the game, and even Bynum got in the action with a steal. If our defense regularly resembled an impenetrable fortress of zone, we would regularly blow out teams by 40 points like we did to Houston in Game 5.

But, if we assume that we can win with less effort than is required, we will most likely fail. It is foolish to underestimate the power of the “underdog”. This year marks the highest seed the Denver Nuggets have ever received in the NBA Playoffs. The 54 wins they snagged in regular season is the highest amount of games won in franchise history. Such feats come with an increase in emotion and fervor on behalf of the ball club and its fans.

The Lakers have no room for mistakes with the Nuggets, and hopefully they’ll acknowledge that and be the team they know they can be. Pau Gasol can’t be the only person rebounding, and our possessions should be treated with care.

If we fix the minor flaws, give a hint more energy, we can swiftly move onto Lebron and the Cavaliers (assuming that is the case of course, you never know with the underdog).

  • MrL

    Let’s do it. Take out Denver as soon as possible then take out the Cavs or Magic (whoever makes it).

  • http://www.myspace.com/on3s3qu3nc3 123kid

    all of sudden denver wins against 2 sorry teams and they are considered championship contenders and we are the underdogs, I LOVE IT! time to slap denver back to reality and they arent facing another washed up team!

  • Tatum

    I was referring to the Nuggets as the underdog, just for clarification. But I love the enthusiasm! Thanks for reading!

  • sketch

    I love the look in Pau and Fish’s eyes when the media basically dubbed the Lakers as the underdogs! I believe that our boys don’t like the disrespect that they’ve been receiving from the media and nationwide. Our team has been taken for granted and they know that! The Lakers have always been the captain of the cheer leading squad and now there’s a new fresh face and so all the boys are goo goo for the new chick. But this is when our team will step up with a chip on their shoulder and give the nuggets the beat down of their young pathetic post season life! And senile Jerry West’s comments about LeHype surpassing the Mamba is even worse! That’s like having your dad pick another kid to play on his team before he picked his own son! And we all know how this will fuel Kobe’s fire! Kobe may not come out firing with both guns in hands, but he will make a statement! If he’s not launching his nuclear arsenal then look for him to dismantle LeHype’s firepower. Kobe will look to shut down LeHype and do it convincingly! Kobe will be General Stormin Norman Schwarzkopf in the 1st Persian Gulf War and utterly devastate Hussein (LeHype) and is Republic Guard (the Cavs) and the Iraqi people (all Cavs fans)! It will be a total ANNIHILATION!

  • http://www.myspace.com/on3s3qu3nc3 123kid

    i was just considering what i heard over like on tnt and espn and how the media makes it look like the lakers are the underdogs. but whether the lakers the underdogs or the nuggets are the underdogs, your definitely right on that we should no longer underestimate teams. i give the nuggets a lot of credit because they are a way better team with the addition to billups and not a.i., but the media doesnt give credit to houston for pushing us and how we prevailed through.

    houston created minimal problems towards kobe, but way better than most teams. aaron brooks was a tough tough person to guard when hez good, but we solved that issue. and they have “so-called” pitbulls that played physical with us. yet all of sudden without yao and t-mac, houston should of been swept the rest of the series.

    i think if u switched the teams the lakers played vs. the teams nuggets played, i think denver would feel the same pressure and not even get past houston. but whatever…its a new series, i would rather have the lakers be tested and pushed around to get to the finals, then to sweep through everyone like a walk in the park.

  • WifelovesLuke

    Good stuff Sketch.

    I love how the media dissed Houston by saying the series should have never gone 7 games. What a slap in the face for them. They (over the last 3 seasons) have had to play without Yao and McGrady and were running on a lot of emotion in their building and acted like true professionals. Props to them and to the media I say “suk it”.

    Denver has not Kirilenko, Artest or Battier to harass Kobe. Look for a MVP series from the Mamba, baby! Lakers in 5!

  • Pat

    Lets not bring the war into this, 1st off saddam was innocent and 2ndly Iraqi citizens are being murdered.

  • Jose

    The Nuggets/Mavs series should have been at least 6 games. The Mavs got robbed by the refs in game 3.