Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets
Any 7 Game series with Kobe Bryant on one side has the advantage already, but with the Denver Nuggets having one of the most talented teams in the NBA with Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin in the starting lineup you can never count them out or call them an underdog.
Both teams have weaknesses and strengths, but I would have to say the Lakers tilt the scale decidedly more than the Nuggets do. First off, like I said before, they have Kobe Bryant who can not be stopped by anyone on the Nuggets or anyone in the NBA for that matter. Secondly, the Lakers size and bench will break the backs of AI and company as the Nuggets will not be able to handle the constant onslaught of both the Lakers starters and confident bench.
Another thing to keep in mind in this series is the health of the Lakers who have been pretty banged up ever since Andrew Bynum did in mid January. If Derek Fisher (foot), Kobe Bryant (hand), Pau Gasol (ankle) can stay healthy in this first round and they get Andrew Bynum back at least 70%, the Lakers should sweep the Nuggets with relative ease, especially after beating the New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio Spurs in convincing fashion to clinch the number 1 seed in the West at seasons end.
This series and the rest of the playoffs for the Lakers will depend on the health of Andrew Bynum. If he can contribute or just back up Pau Gasol with 20 minutes a night or so, the rest of the West will be in serious trouble as I dont see anyone in the West that can come close to beat the Lakers.
The odds :