This matchup interests me to see if the Denver frontcourt can hang with the Lakers dominant big men long enough to give their guards a chance to win the games.
MY PREDICTION: Lakers in 6
Lakers Key Players: (Opponent EFF Rating)
1. Andrew Bynum (24.4) – Bynum is going to have a big advantage on the Nuggets big men as only JaVale McGee has enough size to compete with him. McGee is known for his shot blocking and not his defense, so look for Bynum to be a big part of the Lakers early offense in this series.
Projections: 34-40FPPG 35-40 MPG
2. Pau Gasol (24.1) – Gasol is going to want to make up for his poor playoff performance last season. With Bynum playing so well for the Lakers and Kobe still around, he should have every opportunity to do just that. The Nuggets will likely be running their second tier defenders at him while they try to combat Bynum down low.
Projections: 30-36FPPG 40-45 MPG
3. Kobe Bryant (21.2) – Bryant is probably the best third option I have wrote about in one of these. He is going to get his shots and will be unreal in the games he is knocking them down. However, Kobe’s shooting streaks are ridiculously hard to predict, but at least we can expect him to get around 25 shots up in every game.
Projections: 35-45 FPPG 40-45 MPG
Lakers Sleepers: Love: Ramon Sessions Like: Matt Barnes
Nuggets Key Players: (Opponent EFF Rating)
1. Ty Lawson (24.2) – The Lakers defend the point guard position the worst of any team left in the playoffs and that spells good news for Ty Lawson and his owners. Lawson should have no problem getting to the lane against the Lakers guards and has a nice array of pullups and floaters that should allow him to finish before the Lakers shot blockers can get to him.
Projections: 28-34FPPG 35-40 MPG
2. Danillo Gallinari (19.2) – This matchup greatly improved in my eyes when Metta World Peace was suspended. Gallinari hasn’t seemed like he’s been full go yet since returning late in the season from an injury, but the playoffs may be just what he needs to rev up. Devin Ebanks is expected to start on him and that sounds tasty to me.
Projections: 22-28 FPPG 30-35 MPG
Nuggets Sleepers: Love: Kenneth Faried, Aaron Afflalo Like: JaVale McGee, Andre Miller