The Los Angeles Lakers officially begin their Western Conference Finals journey on Tuesday in the Mile High City against the Denver Nuggets. While the top seed is undoubtedly a very good team from one through five and beyond, head coach Darvin Ham knows slowing down Nikola Jokic is the key to moving on.
By no surprise, Ham was asked how the Lakers plan to contain the two-time MVP, who balled out in the last round. Before actually diving into their strategy, the coach had a hilarious response.
Via Jovan Buha:
“Darvin Ham joked the plan against Nikola Jokic is to catch him outside his house and kidnap him.”
Well, that’s one way! The Joker is averaging 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 9.7 assists in the playoffs while shooting 54% from the field and 47% from three-point land. That’s a lot of production. Anthony Davis will be tasked with trying to prevent Jokic from having his way offensively. Easier said than done, though, because the Serbian truly impacts the game in nearly every area imaginable.
For what it’s worth, Jokic averaged 23.3 points, 12.3 boards, and 9.8 dimes in four regular-season outings against the Lakers in 2022-23. However, it’s important to note that Denver plays best when the supporting cast around their superstar big man is firing on all cylinders. Instead of focusing mostly on The Joker, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see LA try to stop the pieces around their best player.
In three games versus AD, Jokic averaged under 20 points per night. Davis has the strength and size to make the Serb’s life difficult and will certainly need him to do so.
Tip-off for Game 1 is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.