Lakers Clinch Game Six: Not So Fast

Rory BarnettContributor IMay 29, 2009

DENVER - MAY 25:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets is guarded by Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 25, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. 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)

If there's anything people should know, it's that there are no guarantees in the NBA. That includes winning a Western Conference title on the road, even when you're the favorite. However, the Los Angeles Lakers hope to do just that tonight against the  feisty Denver Nuggets. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Sure, I expect the Lakers to close out the series, but like I said, there are no guarantees.

Sure, the Lakers won game three in Denver, 103-97, with Kobe Bryant leading the way with 41 points and five assists. Not to mention Pau Gasol adding 21 points with 11 rebounds and Lamar Odom stepping up his game with eight points and seven rebounds. But take into the fact, the Nuggets' bench outscored the Lakers' bench, 29-15, and Denver made 83 percent of it's free throws compared to the Lakers, 68 percent. So Denver will put up a fight, see game four.

But the Lakers know all the pressure is on them tonight. Everybody expects them to win and get into the NBA finals for second straight time. It will all depend which Laker shows up tonight. Will the reserves outscore the Nuggets instead? Will Derek Fisher, who scored a combined nine points in game three and four, finally have a game we all know he's capable of? Do the Lakers want it more than the Nuggets? Watch and see. But I promise you, it will not be a sure guarantee.