The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets last met in the playoffs not long ago. The Nuggets also stood in the Lakers’ way in the Western Conference Finals during their 2020 NBA Championship run within the Orlando bubble, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis guiding L.A. to a five-game triumph.
This year, though, things are a little different. Since then, Nikola Jokic has won two NBA MVP awards, and the Nuggets have had the top seed in the West for the most of the season, with the Lakers being the clear underdog entering this series. James and Davis are the only surviving Lakers players from that championship squad.
But, because the two teams haven’t played since early January, this Lakers club is radically different from the one Denver faced earlier this year. And, in an interview with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Jokic made it plain that Denver is dealing with a different team:
“We didn’t play with this kind of Lakers [team],” Jokic said. “So this is going to be basically a new team for us. Probably everything is new, everything is different.
“They’re playing amazing in these playoffs. Since [the trade] deadline, they’re playing really well.”