Nuggets Vs Lakers: The Best First Round Matchup of the Playoffs

Sean StancillSenior Writer IApril 17, 2008

 The Denver Nuggets barely managed to squeak into the playoffs and received tough new: They will be playing the Los Angeles Lakers.

Either that or play the Hornets, talk about a no win situation!

Anyway, I have decided to breakdown the matchups that will make or break the series. 

Point Guard:

Derek Fisher 6'1 205lbs 11.7 PPG, 2.9 APG, 1 SPG

Anthony Carter 6'2 195 lbs 7.8 PPG, 5.5 APG, 1.5 SPG

Yes this may be the most meaningless matchup of them all to some, but this matchup will be key in which team is able to set and dictate the tempo first. Denver likes to play fast, Lakers like to a play medium tempo.

Both guards are exceptional perimeter defenders and can read the passing lanes with the best of them. It’s a draw.

Shooting Guard:

Allen Iverson 6’0  26.4 PPG, 7.1 APG, 3 RPG

Kobe Bryant 6’7 28.3 PPG, 5.4 APG, 6.3 RPG

Two of the most dynamic scorers in the league face off in this matchup. Kobe has seven inches on Allen, which makes me think Kobe will see a trio of defenders such as Carmelo Anthony , Linus Kleiza, and Eduardo Najera.

When Kobe torches Denver, the front office will be kicking themselves for not pulling the trigger on the Ron Artest deal at the deadline. Kobe wins this matchup.\

Small Forward:

Anthony 6’8 230lbs 25.7 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.4 APG

Walton 6’8 232 lbs 7.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.9 APG

Carmelo Anthony is among the game’s elite at the small forward position, combining a great athletic body, knowledge of the game, and great passing ability for his size. Carmelo handles the ball like a shooting guard and should have his way with Walton.

Melo, though, will face sure problems because of his latest run in with the law, and the Nuggets better hope his head is completely in the game and nowhere else. Carmelo wins.

Power Forward: 

Lamar Odom 6’10 230lbs 14.2 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 0.9 BPG

Kenyon Martin 6-9 240    12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Odom is an outstanding passer for a man his size, a great ball handler, and a threat to drive to the rim or step back and take the three. Lamar posesses the speed to blow past Kenyon at will, which will cause Marcus Camby to come over and provide weakside help, leaving Gasol open.

Kenyon Martin has had his best season in Denver and is slowly but surely regaining his game that he left in New Jersey on the operating table from several knee surgeries.

Martin is beginning to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot rather, than wait for tip-ins. Kenyon may become frustrated by Lamar’s length, and it will be key to see how Martin reacts.

Lamar wins. However, Odom has been known to slack off as a defender, allowing Dirk Nowitzki to repeatedly launch crucial three pointers on consecutive possessions, including a game tying basket that sent the LAL-Dallas game into overtime weeks ago.

Lamar Odom wins.

C Marcus Camby 6-11 235 9.1 PPG, 13.1 RPG 3.6 BPG

C Pau Gasol 7-0 260 18.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.5 BPG

Marcus Camby is the best shot blocker in the game today, as well as the best inside defender. An eraser, shot changer are other words used to describe the former UMass star, and he’s not too shabby on the offensive side, knocking down 10-20 footers, and throwing up a array of floaters.

Camby even knocks down the occasional three.

Gasol is versatile and has a variety of moves that will spell foul trouble for Camby. This will be a true test for Marcus to see if he really is the league’s best defender.


J.R. Smith 6-6 220lbs 12.3 PPG, 1.7 APG, 40.3% 3pt shooting

Jordan Farmar 6-2 180lbs 9.1 PPG, 2.7 APG, 37.1 3pt shooting

J.R. Smith is perhap's in the Top 5 of all 6th men in the NBA. Smith can come off the bench at anytime and provide three point shooting, and can put points on the board quickly, with ease. Smith has shot over 45% from downtown in the month of November and February including several 20+ games along the way. J.R. also has a field goal percentage of 46.1%. 

Jordan Farmar has evolved into one of the Lakers' sharpshooters in only his 2nd year out of UCLA. Farmar is deadly from behind the arc and has been known to make the big shot. He's also a favorite of the game's best player Kobe Bryant.

J.R. Smith's size will create a probelm for Farmar, and his ability to stretch the floor will hurt the Lakers. J.R. Smith wins.

DJ Mbenga 7-0 255 lbs 2 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.6 BPG

Ronny Turiaf 6-10 249 lbs 6.6PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Nene            6-11 268lbs 5.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.9 BPG

I stacked Mbenga and Turiaf against Nene because that's the only real big man the Nuggets have left.

DJ and Turiaf are energy players with medium to low offensive skill sets. Ronny is the better player of the two, with his ability to create a decent shot when given the oppurtunity. The frenchmen is also a good defender blocking shots but has a tendency to commit untimely fouls. Ronny is also a player that sometimes gets himself and his team into trouble with his elaborate and unnecessary celebrations. I wouldn't be surprised if he does a Superman on the sidelines after a Laker player dunks.

Nene has battled a testicular tumor and missed most of the games this season because of the condition. Denver is slowly but surely working him back into the rotation and getting him playoff ready. Nene has already showed signs of power and finesse moves around the basket, and he looks to dominate these matchups. Nene wins.

Linus Kleiza 6'8 245 lbs 11.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.2 APG

Vladmir Radmanovic 6-10 234 lbs 8.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.9 APG

Linus Kleiza is the man in Denver that all eyes were on at the trading deadline, and the man that all eyes will be on in this series and throughout the playoffs. Kleiza has been instant offense this season for Denver; like J.R. Smith sinking three pointers all year along. Including a 41 point game in a win against Utah in which he shot 50% from downtown, a 23 point game against Dallas (W) in which he shot 60% from behind the arc, and a 21 point games (L) against the Lakers in which he shot 50% from three.

Plain and simple, Linus can shoot from the three and it will be wise if the Los Angeles decides to play a 1-3-1.

Vladmir Radmanovic is a power forward who likes to take his game outside and is more comfortable outside the paint then in the paint. Vladmir will certainly help stretch the floor for L.A.L. but Kleiza has enough speed to hang tough with Radmanovic. Kleiza wins this matchup.

The Denver Nuggets win in 6 games, 4-2


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