The NBA playoffs have arrived, and this is always the best time of the year. The Los Angeles Lakers strive to add to their history of victories, mystique and championships, beginning Sunday afternoon against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center in Game 1 of their first round Western Conference series.
The Lakers are playing the Nuggets in the playoffs for the third time in five years, and while Denver is looking for a major playoff upset, they are facing a different Lakers team than in years past.
The roster is completely different after the trade of Lamar Odom that sent him to Dallas and after the more recent deal that ended a long-term relationship with point guard Derek Fisher. But the Lakers are fortunate to have arguably the best scorer in the game with in Kobe Bryant, who averaged 27.9 points per game this season in 38.5 minutes per game.
At the beginning of the regular season, the Lakers struggled under new head coach Mike Brown, but they were able to win their fifth straight Pacific Division crown and secure home court advantage for the first round. Which means Games 1 and 2 are at Staples Center, where the Lakers have played firmly all season.
Considering that the Nuggets have won a number of games with point guard Ty Lawson, they may be a tough opponent for the Lakers. What they also have is the newly acquired center Javale McGee, one of the seven players who can score in double-digits.
If the Lakers plan to win the series, they will simply have to shutdown a Denver team that led the league in points scored in a game and committed to driving to the basket.
Game 1 tips off at 12:30 p.m. PDT. For more news and notes on Lakers basketball, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.