Lakers led by surprising role player: 3 bold predictions vs Nuggets in Game 1

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers are out for revenge in the first round of the NBA Playoffs as the team takes on the defending NBA Champions, the Denver Nuggets. Denver swept Los Angeles in the Western Conference Finals last season and has won eight games in a row against the purple and gold.

While the Lakers are still underdogs, there is optimism that the team can pull off a shocking series win. This Lakers team is better than last year's team and has a secret weapon that can change the dynamic of the series. Meanwhile, this year's Nuggets team is without two key role players, Bruce Brown and Jeff Green, who played very well against LA last year.

It is going to be a massive uphill battle for the Lake Show that won't come easy. All that being said, here is how we see game one of the series going down on Saturday evening.

3 bold predictions for Lakers-Nuggets, Game 1:

1. Rui Hachimura leads the Lakers in scoring

Rui Hachimura being inserted into the starting lineup truly was the turning point of the Lakers' season. The Lakers have been a far different team this season when Hachimura gets ample playing time and that will come to fruition in the first game against the Nuggets.

Hachimura is good for a scoring outburst every two weeks or so and it has been just under two weeks since his last big scoring game. Hachimura dropped 30 on April 7 against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lakers fans may see a similar game on Saturday.

The Lakers are going to look to get Jokic working defensively with the pick and roll and that will naturally open up a lot of drive-and-kick opportunities for the Lakers' wings. On Saturday, it will be Hachimura who takes advantage.

2. Jamal Murray is held under 20 points

Jamal Murray torched the Lakers last year in the Western Conference Finals. Murray's performance, alonside Nikola Jokic's usual greatness, was simply too much for the Lakers to overcome last season. The Lakers could hang in games, but they ultimately could not execute in the way the Nuggets could.

This year the Lakers have Gabe Vincent, who is going to be very important in this series. Los Angeles finally has someone who the team can throw at Murray in the backcourt and not get exposed in the way that D'Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves were.

Both D'Lo and Reaves are going to get ample playing time so there will still be moments for Murray to succeed. But with Vincent as a new added wrinkle, the same actions that worked in last year's series won't work this time around. This will catch Murray and the Nuggets by surprise, and ultimately result in a poor game for Murray.

3. The Lakers win by double-digits

Those who follow us here at Lake Show Life know that we are not homers for the sake of being homers. We will tell our readers how it is straight up and won't sugarcoat the reality. In reality, the Nuggets are still in a great spot to win this series against the Lakers, even if they lose game one.

That being said, the Lakers are a team that is extremely hungry and has been playing games with massive stakes for weeks now. The Nuggets have been on cruise control the last month, and that will ultimately result in the Lakers taking the Nuggets by surprise.

Every year there are two or three surprising game one outcomes in the first round of the playoffs and this is going to be one of them this year. The Lakers won't just jump out in the series, they will win by double digits to assert themselves as a real threat.

Will this result in the Lakers winning the series? Not necessarily. But game one is one where the Lakers have the advantage.