To Los Angeles with momentum

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To Los Angeles with momentum

Nuggets will use their power and speed to challenge the Lakers
Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried will play a major role in their first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers. He’ll guard Pau Gasol, who averaged a double-double this season against Denver.
Denver has been adapting and adjusting to injuries and new acquisitions all season long, including center JaVale McGee. “JaVale’s been dunking and playing well, too,” guard Ty Lawson said. “We’re ready to go.”
George Karl said he wouldn’t hesitate to use any and all of his big men, such as Timofey Mozgov, against the Lakers’ bigger frontcourt. “Timo, since his injury, Kosta (Koufos) has gotten the minutes to the point where I don’t want to take them away from Kosta.”
No. 3 Los Angeles Lakers (41-25) vs. No. 6 Denver Nuggets (38-28)

Season series: Lakers, 3-1. The Lakers won the final two meetings after the teams split a holiday home-and-home on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Kobe Bryant sat out the final meeting April 13, but Andrew Bynum scored 30 points as part of a monster series – 24.8 points pre game on 66-percent shooting.
Storyline: Knocked out in the second round last year after consecutive NBA titles, the Lakers try to start another finals run against a Nuggets team that won its final four games to reach the No. 6 seed.
Key matchup I: Bryant vs. Arron Afflalo. No matter what shape Bryant is in after a shin injury sidelined him for much of the stretch run, he’ll have to shoot better than he did against the Nuggets. He made just 27.5 percent of his shots, worst against any team.
Key matchup II: Pau Gasol vs. Kenneth Faried. If the Nuggets can’t stop Bynum they need to have some success against Gasol, and they really didn’t in the regular season. He averaged 16 points and 10.8 rebounds, and now it’s up to the rookie to try to contain him.
X-factor: Matt Barnes. With Metta World Peace suspended the next six games, Barnes will have to provide the defense against Danilo Gallinari and Al Harrington on the wings.
Prediction: Lakers in 5.
Associated Press

To Los Angeles with momentum

BKN
Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried will play a major role in their first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers. He’ll guard Pau Gasol, who averaged a double-double this season against Denver.
BKN
Denver has been adapting and adjusting to injuries and new acquisitions all season long, including center JaVale McGee. “JaVale’s been dunking and playing well, too,” guard Ty Lawson said. “We’re ready to go.”
BKN
George Karl said he wouldn’t hesitate to use any and all of his big men, such as Timofey Mozgov, against the Lakers’ bigger frontcourt. “Timo, since his injury, Kosta (Koufos) has gotten the minutes to the point where I don’t want to take them away from Kosta.”
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