Can LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers get past James Harden and the three-point happy Houston Rockets in their second round playoff series? Will Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers avoid falling against the incendiary Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets in their conference semifinal showdown or could either underdog upset their favored series counterparts? If you’re ready for some NBA basketball betting action moving forward and you want to know what it will take for each Western Conference playoff team to win the Western Conference, then let’s find out right now so you can place your bets against their NBA Playoffs odds.
What do they need to win NBA Western Conference | Laker, Rockets, Clippers & Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers got past Portland in five games, but they’re going to need better production form everyone outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis if they want to win the Western Conference. While Davis is putting up a team-high 29.8 points per game and James is averaging 27.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and an identical 10.2 assist per game, only Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (11.2 ppg) and Kyle Kuzma (10.8 ppg) are averaging double figures in scoring for the Lakers this postseason. If guys like Danny Green, Alex Caruso and Markieff Morris don’t start playing better, then the Lakers definitely won’t advance to the conference finals. Defensively, L.A.’s perimeter players will need to keep stars like James Harden and Russell Westbrook from having their way -and that’s no certainty after watching Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum light up the Lakers for extended stretches.
The Rockets simply need to keep playing defense they way they did in their thrilling seven-game first round win over Oklahoma City. Believe it or not, Houston has the highest defensive rating of any team in the playoffs. Of course, they’ll be taking on a Los Angeles Lakers team that has far more quality depth with their big men in the frontcourt with all-star Anthony Davis leading the way. The Rockets will need to contain Davis and then, they’re going to need better production from both, James Harden and Russell Westbrook with the Beard putting up 29.7 points per game, down from his league-leading average of 34.3 points per game during the regular season. Westbrook should be a lot better moving forward as he continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss eight of Houston’s last nine games. If Houston doesn’t get killed in the paint against the Lakers and can drain a high percentage of their three-point shots, they could pull off the huge upset to reach the conference finals at the very least.
Los Angeles Clippers
In order for the Clippers to come out of the Western Conference, they simply need to play the way they did in beating Dallas three times over their final four first round games. Los Angeles scored at least 111 points in every game against the Mavs while topping the 130-point plateau three times in the series. Kawhi Leonard has been stupendous in averaging 32.8 points per game in the playoffs, but the Clippers will need Paul George to show up in every game after the all-star struggled mightily early against Dallas and finished the first round series averaging a modest 18.5 points per game, down from his regular season average of 21.5 points per contest. The good news is that L.A. is finally, fully healthy and clearly motivated after their struggles against Dallas. If the Clippers make life tough on Murray and keep all-star center Nikola Jokic from having his way in the pain, they’ll advance to the conference finals at the very least.
The Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit to get past Utah in seven thrilling games, but the Nuggets need shooting guard Jamal Murray to go absolutely bonkers in order to do so and that doesn’t bode well heading into their second round matchup against the loaded Clippers. Denver gave up at least 124 points in each of the first four games against a Utah team that isn’t very offensive-minded outside of superstar Donovan Mitchell and they’re going to need a much better effort at that end of the floor moving forward. The good news is that they held the Jazz to 107 points or less in each of their final three wins, while limiting Utah to just 78 points in Game 7. Then, there’s the fact that only four players are averaging double figures in scoring in the playoffs after six did so during the regular season. Power forward Paul Millsap will need to play better as he comes into the conference semis averaging a paltry 6.9 points per game after putting up 11.6 per contest during the regular season. The Nuggets can’t rely on Murray putting up 31.6 points per game like he did against the Jazz as L.A. will send waves of smart defenders at him during the second round. If the Nuggets can get more contributions from their bench, they’ll have a shot for the upset. If not, they could be on the links in a heartbeat.
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