Why do the Nuggets dominate the Lakers? It’s because Los Angeles lacks a solution for Nikola Jokic—and so does everyone else

The Nuggets’ return to the spotlight with Maury Povich and a manila envelope fulfilled our desires. In the case of the 64-year-old Los Angeles Lakers, the result is clear: Denver is the dominant force.

As the Lakers return to Ball Arena on Saturday, they’re greeted as family by the Nuggets. From Trinidad to Windsor, echoes of the “Who’s your daddy?” chant from Ring Night in October still linger.Nikola Jokic, Nuggets face Lakers as quest for repeat begins

This reunion follows the Nuggets sweeping the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, a series that marked a significant moment for Denver, exorcising playoff demons along the way.

It was a defining moment in the Nuggets’ postseason journey, culminating in their first NBA championship. Yet, much talk post-sweep revolved around the Lakers’ performance, earning the dubious honor of the best performance by a swept team and speculation about LeBron James’ retirement (which, spoiler alert, didn’t happen).

And here we are once more. Everything feels familiar yet different. The Nuggets enter as strong favorites, boasting an eight-game winning streak against the Lakers. Their dominance in clutch moments against Los Angeles over the past two seasons is remarkable, led by none other than Nikola Jokic.

The Joker, as he’s known, may prefer to stay out of the limelight, but his on-court presence demands attention. His calm demeanor under pressure is matched only by his exceptional passing ability, making him one of the greatest playmakers of all time.

Jokic’s ability to thrive in crucial moments stems from his composure and the ice in his veins, coupled with Jamal Murray’s clutch performances. His performances against the Lakers last postseason left even Anthony Davis in disbelief.

Jokic’s reliability is unmatched. When considering why the Nuggets are poised to win this series (I predict Denver in five), it all starts with the Joker. No one seems capable of slowing him down, and this series hinges on his matchup with Davis.Lakers Final Score: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets Beat LA 132-126 In The Mile High  City - All Lakers | News, Rumors, Videos, Schedule, Roster, Salaries And  More

While the Lakers are undoubtedly a formidable opponent, with LeBron James leading the charge, the Nuggets’ dominance in the Jokic versus the world matchup gives them the edge. That’s not to say the Lakers have no chance—never underestimate a LeBron James-led team. They have the talent to compete with the Nuggets; they just haven’t found a way to beat them yet.

Some believe that the Lakers are better off facing the Nuggets now, and I agree. As their top player nears 40 years old, fatigue becomes a concern. Los Angeles should be fresher this time around, and they’ve improved compared to last year with the addition of Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell, providing extra offensive firepower.

While it’s unlikely the Lakers will find a solution for Jokic, the key to making this series competitive lies with Russell. His impact this season has been significant, shooting 41% from beyond the arc, just like last year. It’s not just about the percentage; it’s about the timing of his shots, particularly his ability to make crucial baskets, as seen in the play-in game against New Orleans.

However, Russell’s defensive struggles against Murray in last year’s Western Conference Finals were evident, and he faltered under the spotlight, averaging only 6.3 points and 3.5 assists while Murray excelled with 32.5 points per game. While Russell may improve, it’s unlikely to be a significant difference.

Whether in April or late May, this Lakers vs. Nuggets series is what fans have been waiting for. For Denver, it’s an opportunity to secure four more victories and solidify their dominance. It’s another chance to prove their superiority over the Lakers.