With the top 3 seeds in the West advancing to the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs, we should see some exciting basketball coming up. The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Denver Nuggets are all capable of winning the West. Let’s take a look at what each team needs to do to get to the conference finals and beyond so you can place your bets against their NBA Playoffs odds.
Lakers/Clippers/Nuggets – What do they need to win the Western Conference?
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have the best duo left in the playoffs in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Both of them have been playing like the unstoppable forces that many thought they would be together. Even at 35, James still has the power and ability to take over the game. He can get to the rim with ease, and when he does, not only can he finish, but he can also draw the foul.
Davis may be the most unguardable player left in the playoffs. His combination of size, skill, and speed make it almost impossible for anyone to defend him. He can play in the post, can drive, knows how to work the pick and roll game, and can shoot from the perimeter, so he is a lethal basketball weapon. Look for the Lakers to feed him the ball early and often.
Defensively, the Lakers have turned up their intensity in the playoffs. They can match up well with the teams they play, as they can go to a big lineup with JaVale McGee and/or Dwight Howard along with Davis, or they can go small with Alex Caruso being the defensive stopper.
Los Angeles ClippersThe Clippers have their own strong duo, as they have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Now that George has finally gotten back into the swing of things, that makes the Clippers that much more dangerous.
Defensively, the Clippers have the best combination of players to give other teams fits. George, Leonard, and Patrick Beverley (if healthy) are all very good defenders. When these three are on the floor, the Clippers have the ability to switch screens and cause chaos for their opponents. Leonard still has the ability to “lock down” the other team’s top offensive threat.
The Clippers are also one of the most versatile teams in the league. They can bring numerous scoring options off the bench. Lou Williams, Reggie Jackson, and Landry Shamet are all very good scorers who come off the pine to give the Clippers some scoring punch.
Outside of the Clippers, the Nuggets probably have the deepest and most versatile roster left in the playoffs. The Nuggets can come at you with various different looks, can play matchups, and have the ability to play a big lineup, or go with the “small ball” look.
Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic have carried the Nuggets in the 2nd round. Jokic’s passing ability, and his ability to score inside or outside have made him hard to stop. He is a very intelligent player, and he seems to have the knack to be at the right place at the right time.
As for Murray, he has been scoring at an unbelievable rate. Although the Clippers will play him tight, when he is confident, Murray is very hard to stop. He will also be the focus of the Clippers defense, so if he can get others involved as well, it will make Denver that much better.
Denver has been one of the poorest defensive teams in the playoffs. If they want to advance to the next round, they will need to make some defensive changes. The Clippers will present numerous challenges to them on the defensive end of the floor. If Denver shows that it can make the changes, they’ll have a great shot at moving on.