NBA  > General NBA  > Nuggets vs. Lakers: The Complete Western Conference Finals Preview
May 19, 2009, 09:55 AM
This article was originally published by Aaron at

Remember that movie with Freddie Prinze Jr., the one where he has to make the goofiest girl at his high school into the prom queen? I can???t remember what it???s called, because honestly it wasn???t very memorable. Save the Last Dance? Weekend at Bernies II? I honestly don???t know because after the first 700 romantic comedies you???re forced to watch, they all seem to run together.

But the premise is easy: take Rachel Leigh Cook, a girl that no one else sees anything in, and try to bring out the natural beauty in her. Get to know her and realize attractiveness is more than just fancy clothes and expensive makeup. Fall in love. It???s boring and clich??, but in a way the same story line is taking place in the 2009 NBA Playoffs.

Despite needing seven games to close out a vastly undermanned Rockets team, everyone is back on board in the Lakers express, next stop NBA Finals. Sunday???s Game 7 against Houston never really got going, turning into a dud faster than a Danny Bonaduce reality TV show. As planned, L.A. is back in the Western Conference Finals, to the surprise of no one.

In Game 7 against the Rockets, the Lakers had that look, the one that the Rachel Leigh Cook???s of the world can???t dream of competing with. The swagger, extra passes and fastbreak dunks that led the Lakers to 65 wins this regular season were back. Their play Sunday was reminiscent of why everyone- including myself- had them winning the championship at the beginning of the playoffs.

But when L.A. host???s the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night, they???ll be looking at their polar opposite in the mirror, the bizarro Lakers, if you will.

Forget the arrogance, flashy smiles and courtside celebrities: the Denver Nuggets bring none of that. Denver???s MO is what the Lakers have struggled with all playoffs long: Play hard on both ends of the floor and for 48 minutes. Come in focused every night. The Nuggets have been almost mind-numbingly steady in this postseason, but in the eyes of most fans unspectacular.

Because, despite Denver winning eight of 10 playoffs games, and seven by double digits, no one seems to be picking them to beat L.A.. Sure I???ve heard they could win. Or they might win. Of course Jennifer Aniston could find a husband while doing Pilates today. Khloe might replace Kim as the hottest Kardashian before all is said and done. But I don???t think anyone actually expects either to happen, just like no on actually expects the Nuggets to beat the Lakers.

And I understand why. The Lakers have the glamorous superstar and coach. They???ve got the home-court advantage and the deeper bench. They???ve got the famous fan base and electric arena. But if I can channel my inner Leo Corso, all NBA fans need to step back a second and say, ???Not so fast my friend.???

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