The Denver Nuggets, of all teams, will know that a playoff series isn’t over until one team wins four games. In 2020, the Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to come back from two 3-1 deficits in a single postseason run. But there’s no way their confidence isn’t brimming at the moment, especially after they took a 2-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023 Western Conference Finals on the back of unreal performances from both Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
And the Nuggets’ confidence exists for a good reason. Throughout the franchise’s history, having a 2-0 lead in the playoffs has always led to success. As ClutchPoints Twitter pointed out, the Nuggets have never lost a playoff series where they’ve taken a 2-0 lead, having gone 6-0 in the past.
In this postseason alone, the Nuggets added two feathers to their 2-0 cap. Some believed that the Nuggets were vulnerable to a first-round upset against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but there they were, dominating Games 1 and 2, quickly shutting down any talk regarding an early flameout.
Meanwhile, they continued their roll against the Phoenix Suns in the second round. With Nikola Jokic having his way against the Suns’ overmatched frontcourt, they also raced out to a 2-0 series lead. Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, however, did not allow the Nuggets to run away with the series, winning two games at home before losing two straight to end their season, including an embarrassing Game 6 performance in front of their own fans.
During the Nuggets’ 2009 run to the Western Conference Finals, they won the first two games of the first two rounds, en route to two 4-1 series victories over the New Orleans Hornets and Dallas Mavericks. However, they ran into the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers, a team that was on a revenge tour, and the Carmelo Anthony-led squad fell short.
The other two Nuggets series victories after going up 2-0 happened all the way back in the second round of the 1978 and 1985 playoffs.
Still, given the talent and playoff experience of the Lakers roster, the Nuggets know better than to rest on their laurels. Expect the Nuggets to give it their all on the road as they look to get rid of the Lakers for good.