The No. 1 seed Denver Nuggets will meet the No. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals in the 2023 NBA playoffs to determine which team will go to the NBA Finals. The Nuggets and Lakers met in the conference finals during the 2020 Orlando bubble, with LA winning that series 4-1. The teams split their four matchups this season 2-2.
The Nuggets have built their offense around two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, and this time he finally had a healthy group around him in the postseason. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., two of the notable absences from a year ago, have stepped up in a big way in these playoffs. Aaron Gordon has become a lockdown defender, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown continue to provide great minutes for Denver. The Nuggets have the top-end talent and depth of a title contender, and now the question will be whether they can get past a team that has historically had their number in the playoffs.
The Lakers were treading water for most of the season before finally making the trades necessary to jump into contention. LeBron James sat out a portion of the season recovering from a foot injury but he looks to be 100% now. Anthony Davis has answered the call to be a star in these playoffs, dominating on the interior. Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker and Jarred Vanderbilt have all had big moments, and LA’s depth rivals Denver’s for a playoff series.