As predicted, the Los Angeles Lakers handled the Houston Rockets on Sunday, setting up a Western Conference finals matchup with your Denver Nuggets, who the Lakers have dominated in recent years. But even though the game was never competitive, the Lakers hardly looked invincible. Simply put, the Rockets had no scorers with both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady on the bench, leading to ugly sights such as Ron Artest repeatedly tossing up wild, off-balance shots that sometimes weren't even in the general vicinity of the rim. Not only couldn't any of the Rockets in uniform have started for the Lakers; it was unclear if more than a couple of them could even have made the team. Meanwhile, the Lakers were inconsistent offensively, managing only 89 points despite every factor falling in their favor.
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If the Nuggets focus on these elements instead of their past history at the Phil Anschutz-owned Staples Center, they have a chance to be more than competitive in this series. Hell, they could actually win it.