No Easy Road to the Finals for Lakers or Cavs

D.Michael LeeSenior Analyst IMay 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 21:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets shoots over Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers  in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 21, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

"It's going to be a long series" - George Karl, after the Game Two win.

With those six words, George Karl stated what most Nuggets fans, many Laker fans, and the rest of the general public now know. The Denver Nuggets' Game One play was not a fluke, and some would argue they should be going back to Denver up 2-0 on Kobe’s crew.

The difference between Game One and Game Two for Denver was simply execution.

Chauncey Billups displayed the leadership qualities that have made him the professional and future Hall of Famer that he is.

George Karl has matched Phil Jackson move for move on the sidelines, and Carmelo Anthony, as I stated he needed too, has outplayed Kobe Bryant thus far in the series.

Over in the East, Game Two is tonight, and the Cavaliers will certainly come out with an intensity we haven’t seen in a while.

Cleveland was punched in the mouth in Game One by the Orlando Magic and, as some analysts had expected, the battles Orlando had against the Sixers and Celtics already had them playing at a higher intensity level than the Cavs had been forced too thus far in the postseason.

I asked in my series preview who on Orlando would take the big shot when they needed it, and in Game One the answer was Rashard Lewis.

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I expect Cleveland to bounce back and tie this series up; however, even if they do that, as basketball fans, we are in for a great next two weeks leading up to the NBA Finals.

Two teams who come in as heavy underdogs, the Magic and Nuggets, are not going to back down, and when they each get back home, the scene should be incredible.

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