The victory against the Denver Nuggets last night was very important for the Los Angeles Lakers. After all, they were without LeBron and were facing a team that has been rather red hot down the stretch.
It was also important because the Nuggets hover above the Lakers in the Western Conference and could possibly be their opponent when the regular season ends and the playoffs begin. It could have possibly been a coming attraction of what could possibly be a very good matchup. That being said, it was quite important for the Lakers.
The Nuggets did not seem to look all that great for most of the game last night. Of course, Nuggets star Nikola Jokic did his thing and had 32 points, while Michael Porter Jr. chipped in with 19. Denver was still outplayed for most of the game by the Lakers.
Five players were in double digits for Los Angeles, as they got a lot of help from Marc Gasol off the bench as well as Wesley Matthews who hit a few 3-pointers. Most impressive were Alex Caruso and Anthony Davis, in addition to the up-tempo style the squad had last night. Their defense was on point as they held Denver to 89 points.
The Los Angeles Lakers needed this win.
This was a victory the Lakers needed badly. After all, they have dropped their last few games and many around the league were starting to wonder about them. The win last night let the league know that all is still solid in Laker World and they are still very capable of repeating and being a great team.
It also lets teams like Denver know that even though they may have a better record than the Lakers, when it comes down to it, what is going to matter most is experience, bench play, and defense. The Lakers clearly have power coming off of the bench. They also are a much better defensive team and they, of course, have experience on their side.
The loss of Jamal Murray will hurt Denver, very much especially in the playoffs. Teams will focus on Jokic and do their best to limit him or shut him down. After him, they do not seem to have many legit threats.
Porter is a very good talent, but seems a year away. If these two are to meet in the playoffs, Fran Vogel will have his roster all healthy and ready, meaning he should beat them. I don’t think the Nuggets want to face Los Angeles as they look to take on another opponent who would be the Dallas Mavericks right at this moment. The Mavericks might just be a better fit for them.
One thing is for sure though, the Nuggets may just have to face the Lakers come playoff time. That should be something the Lakers would love to see.