NBA Western Conference Series Breakdown and Prediction

ctsports picksAnalyst IMay 19, 2009

DENVER - MAY 13:  Chauncey Billups #7 of the Denver Nuggets encourages his teammates from the bench against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 13, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.  The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 124-110 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The NBA Western Conference crown will be given to one of the top two teams from the regular season.

These two teams look to be headed in different directions entering this series.

Denver has been dominant, and since the playoffs started really they have not had one disappointing performance.

On the other hand, the Lakers are coming off a very disappointing series that saw their defensive effort come and go.

Sports Handicapper Craig Trapp of CT SPORTS PICKS is going to give a quick breakdown, keys to winning, and prediction in this Western Conference Championship Series.

The LA Lakers have been the public's and oddsmakers' favorite all season long—but the last series has shown a chink in their armor.

Lucky for LA, Denver is not a lock-down defensive team and will play an up-and-down game that the Lakers love playing. Kobe will love to get away from Houston and their physical defensive pressure.

The key for the Lakers in this series is simple—consistent defensive effort and defensive rebounding. This team at times tries to outscore teams and does not come with the effort needed to win in the playoffs.

Denver could not possibly be playing any better than they have thus far in the playoffs. Defensive intensity had been a problem for this team in years past. But after the trade acquiring Billups, this team changed and started to become a very good defensively. Most teams struggle to match the score this high-powered offensive powerhouse—but in the regular season LA dominated the Nuggets, winning three of four games.

The keys for Denver in this Western Conference Championship series is to wear the Lakers out with their depth. The Lakers' starters match up very well with Denver, but the Nuggets have a better bench. This really becomes an advantage in the thin, mile-high air of Denver.

This series will be very hard-fought, and most likely will go seven games. Even though the Lakers are coming off a disappointing series with Houston, Craig is taking the Lakers in seven games.

The tough series strengthened the resolve of this LA team and they now realize that no one will give them a win—or a series.


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