LeBron's 12th Conference Finals 👑

This year's Conference Finals features two "Bubble" rematches, with the Nuggets and Lakers facing off again three years later. LeBron is 10-1 in this round of the playoffs, but will matchup with potentially the most dominant team of this postseason. LeBron/AD vs. Jokic/Murray, who you got? 🏀 (3 min read)

Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Bubble Rematches

Ever since the NBA’s “Bubble” playoffs in Disney World back in the 2020 lockdown, fans have rabidly debated the merit of the achievements that went down. While all but the most avid haters will readily admit that the achievements within the Bubble “count”, it’s obvious that the lack of fans or home court advantage created a unique situation in basketball history 👀

  • This recent context gives irony to the fact that the 2023 Conference Finals matchups are an exact rematch of those within the Bubble. With the Lakers and Nuggets squaring off tonight in the Western Conference Finals, let’s look back at LA’s five-game takedown of Denver that preceded their 2020 championship

  • The series’ most memorable moment came in Game 2, when Anthony Davis laced a buzzer-beating three-pointer and yelled “Kobe” 🐍

While this year’s matchup features the same battle of star duos in LeBron and AD vs. Jokic and Murray, quite a lot has changed in the past three seasons. Jokic has evolved into a two-time MVP and the league’s most devastating offensive weapon, a versatile big man whose supernatural vision and efficiency are matched by his feathery scoring touch and limitless arsenal of post moves 🔥

  • Jokic is redefining the limits of one man’s impact on the court, as he seems to control all impacts of the game without needing to dominate the ball. Whether operating as a ball-handler, screener or post-up threat, the Joker effortlessly toys with opposing defenses

  • You need to watch him to appreciate his genius, but the numbers certainly back it up 👇

Unfortunately for Jokic, he’ll be squaring off against two stars also ranking in the top five of that list. After two seasons plagued by constant injuries and the debacle that was the Russell Westbrook trade, LeBron and AD are back to proving themselves as the league’s preeminent duo. Their path to the Conference Finals has been remarkable, dispatching the two-seed Grizzlies and overcoming the Warriors’ vaunted dynasty 🔥

  • At 38 years old and now 12 Conference Finals appearance, LeBron plays a notably different role than the heliocentric one which he held in past playoff runs. He no longer functions as the constant engine of the offense, picking and choosing his spots and directing his teammates in the interim

  • With an astounding 20 seasons under his belt, LeBron compensates for declining athleticism with a grand chess master’s level of strategic influence over the game 👑

So there you have it - a matchup of basketball geniuses, one at the peak of his powers and one nearing the end, looking for yet another trophy to add to his chest. Both will face elite defenders with the unusual capability of testing them — LeBron in Aaron Gordon, a sturdy wing who had a great deal of success against Kevin Durant last round, and Jokic of course in Davis, the league’s most fearsome defensive big 💪

  • Of course, we can count on both superstars to ultimately prove impossible to contain, as the all-time greats always find a way to do…grab your popcorn for this one, folks 🍿

  • Spread: Nuggets -6

  • Moneyline: Nuggets -245, Lakers +200

  • Over/Under: 222.5

Trivia Question: LeBron is 10-1 in the Conference Finals, can you name the one series he lost?

For My Parlay Gurus

Game 1 is usually a feel-out game for LeBron, who will be looking to understand the Nuggets’ tendencies and scope out potential weak spots. Both of these teams are undefeated at home in the postseason, and I like that trend to continue tonight. Look for the Nuggets to score the W behind another monster triple-double from Jokic 👇

  • Nuggets -6 vs. Lakers: -112

  • Nikola Jokic OVER 9.5 Assists: -122

$100 on this bet would win you $217 — if we hit, make sure you email [email protected] for a chance to win up to $100*. Many will enter, only some will win 😉

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Trivia Answer: LeBron and the Cavs lost in six games to the Magic back in the 2008-09 season

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