Lakers vs. Nuggets predictions, odds, schedule for 2023 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals series
Lakers vs. Nuggets predictions, odds, schedule for 2023 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals series
Predictions, odds and schedule for Lakers vs. Nuggets

The Lakers and Nuggets are back in the Western Conference Finals.

The Lakers punched their ticket to the third round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs by taking down the defending champion Warriors in six games. The Nuggets advanced in dominant fashion, blowing the Suns out on their homecourt in Game 6.

It's only been three years since Los Angeles and Denver last met in the Conference Finals. The Lakers won in five games, but three games were decided by single digits. Former Laker and current Nugget Kentavious Caldwell-Pope believes that Denver would've won the series had Anthony Davis not hit a game-winner in Game 2.

Will history repeat itself or can the Nuggets get some revenge on the Lakers?

Lakers vs. Nuggets predictions

Micah Adams: Nuggets in four games

Scott Rafferty: Nuggets in six games

Carlan Gay: Nuggets in six games

Steph Noh: Nuggets in six games

Kyle Irving: Lakers in six games

Lakers vs. Nuggets odds

The Nuggets open as slight favorites to beat the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, according to BetMGM.

  Lakers Nuggets
Moneyline +120 -145

Lakers vs. Nuggets schedule

Here is the complete schedule for the Western Conference Finals series between Los Angeles and Denver:

Date Game Time (ET) TV channel
May 16 Game 1 8:30 p.m. ESPN
May 18 Game 2 8:30 p.m. ESPN
May 20 Game 3 8:30 p.m. ABC
May 22 Game 4 8:30 p.m. ESPN
May 24 Game 5* 8:30 p.m. ESPN
May 26 Game 6* 8:30 p.m. ESPN
May 28 Game 7* 8:30 p.m. ESPN

*If necessary

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Lakers vs. Nuggets 2022-23 regular season series

The Lakers and Nuggets split the season series, winning two games each.

  • Oct. 26, 2022: Nuggets 110, Lakers 99
  • Oct. 30, 2022: Lakers 121, Lakers 110
  • Dec. 16, 2022: Lakers 126, Nuggets 108
  • Jan. 9, 2023: Nuggets 122, Lakers 109

There's only so much you can take away from those results because each game was played before the trade deadline when the Lakers reshaped their rotation, turning Russell Westbrook into D'Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley.

Jokic appeared in all four games against the Lakers, posting averages of 23.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 9.8 assists. Davis and James both played in three of the four games. Davis averaged 18.3 points and 11.0 rebounds compared to 25.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists for James.

Lakers vs. Nuggets key storyline: Do the Lakers have an answer for Nikola Jokic?

The Lakers did a solid job on Nikola Jokic in the 2020 Western Conference Finals.

Jokic still put up numbers, but he wasn't quite as dominant against the Lakers as he was against the Jazz and Clippers. He averaged fewer points, rebounds and assists in the Conference Finals than he did in the previous rounds.

Nikola Jokic averages in the 2020 NBA Playoffs
First round vs. Jazz 26.3 8.1 5.4 51.5 47.8
Second round vs. Clippers 24.4 13.4 6.6 51.5 39.5
Third round vs. Lakers 21.8 7.2 5.0 53.2 35.7

Jokic was already a multi-time All-Star at that point of his career, but he's since earned three more All-Star selections and won back-to-back MVP awards. The Jokic the Lakers faced then is not the Jokic the Lakers will face now.

It doesn't help that Jokic enters the series playing some of the best basketball of his career. Against the Suns in the second round, he averaged 34.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game over six games while shooting 59.4 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from 3-point range.

Jokic had a 53-point game and a total of three triple-doubles, including a near 30-20-20 performance in Game 3.

Nikola Jokic 30-point Playoff triple-double 🗣️

32 points
10 rebounds
12 assists

Nuggets advance to the Western Conference Finals ‼️#NBAPlayoffs presented by @GooglePixel_US

— NBA (@NBA) May 12, 2023

The Lakers had more depth at center when they faced the Nuggets in 2020, as they usually paired Anthony Davis with JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard. This roster is lighter on big men, so the Jokic matchup will likely fall on the shoulders of Davis.

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