Los Angeles Lakers superstar superstar forward Lebron James says he and the rest of the team have the "respect out of this world" for the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have been the biggest storyline of this year's NBA playoffs after recovering in back-to-back games from a 3-1 deficit to progress into the Western Conference Finals.
The Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz in the first round, before they also recovered from a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Semifinals to stun the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers. "Very resilient, very confident, very driven, very well-coached team," James said of the Nuggets, per ESPN.
"It takes a lot of energy, effort, a lot of desperation to be able to come back from a 3-1 deficit. They did it twice. So the respect level is out of this world for what we have for this ballclub. That's how we're going into this series: understanding what they're capable of, where they stand."
James knows the Nuggets have some big names
Guard Jamal Murray and big men Nikola Jokic have been absolutely phenomenal throughout the playoffs and the Nuggets will need them to again be on their best if they want to stand a chance against the first-seeded Lakers.
"When you have the best player on the team, one of the best players on the team, not really caring about himself at all for the better of the team, that sends a message to the rest of the group," James said of Jokic.
James also showed his respect for Nuggets coach Mike Malone. "I know how much Coach Mo put into our schemes, put into our productivity, put into what we needed to do to go out and win ball games when we were together in Cleveland," James said.
"I saw that. So the respect level, just seeing what he was putting into his craft, it made it easy for me to grow a likeness to him." The much anticipated Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Clippers won't happen after a shock Nuggets win.
"I don't have a comment about it really," James said when asked about not playing Clippers' Kawhi Leonard & Co. with a trip to the Finals on the line. "I was just sitting back and watching the game from a fan's perspective, seeing big shots be made, big plays being made, missed shots, things of that nature. I was also [watching] as a scout, scouting both teams at the same time."