ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith is impressed with how the Los Angeles Lakers are taking care of business in their Western Conference Finals series opener versus the Denver Nuggets on Friday. The controversial First Take host had this to say after the Purple and Gold appeared dominant in the first 36 minutes of the game.

Shortly after proclaiming that LeBron James should have won MVP over Giannis Antetokounmpo, Smith doubled down on his praise for the Purple and Gold for not messing around early in Game 1. Most pundits (including Smith himself) expected the Los Angeles Clippers to be the ones facing the Lakers in the WCF.

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

But much to everyone’s surprise, the Nuggets defied all those odds and set up a date with the number one team in the Wild Wild West. Denver is the hottest team in the league right now after clawing back from a 3-1 deficit on two separate occasions.

The Lakers are certainly wary of the Nuggets’ firepower and made sure to come up with a fast start to put themselves in a good position to win. Anthony Davis has been dominant on both ends, allowing James to sit back a bit and focus on facilitating on offense. The role players have also been on point, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dwight Howard providing valuable contributions.

Stephen A. Smith, meanwhile, has certainly had a change of heart after negging on the Lakers prior to the start of the postseason. He predicted that the Clippers will be hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy this year which, of course, eventually ended up biting him in the rear. Looks like Smith is also hopping aboard the Laker bandwagon.