Reggie Miller on Nuggets-Lakers: “Don’t go to sleep on the Denver Nuggets. Don’t. Do not do it.” – The Denver Post

Reggie Miller’s head says the NBA’s Western Conference Finals are LeBron’s to lose.

But his heart? Man, after watching the Nuggets for the last three weeks, his heart’s about a mile high right now.

“The Lakers are the clear-cut favorite, because they’re the Lakers and they’ve got the best player of their generation in LeBron (James),” Miller, the former NBA star and current Turner Sports analyst, said on a media conference call Wednesday. “But something’s brewing. Something’s a-brewing.”

The Nuggets, who made NBA history Tuesday night by knocking the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers out of the postseason, notching their second straight series victory after being down 3-1, are capturing the imagination of basketball fans all over the world. That they’re the biggest underdogs still swinging inside the NBA’s Disney World bubble has only made them more loveable. Especially for lifetime basketball wonks who are still pulling little pieces of crow out of their mouths after what the Nuggets did to Kawhi Leonard, Paul George & Co.

“Something’s definitely brewing,” quipped Chris Webber, the ex-NBA power forward and Miller’s fellow talking head at Turner Sports. “Put it like this: I like Denver as much as I would like anyone else’s chances against the Lakers, after what they’ve shown.”

The Nuggets, who’ll take on the top-seeded Lake Show for a seven-game series starting Friday night, dropped three of their four regular-season meetings with Los Angeles during the start-stop-start-again regular season. Denver has never knocked the Lakers from the NBA Playoffs in six postseason series, all-time, and the oddsmakers know it: FanDuel on Wednesday gave Los Angeles an 88.2% chance of advancing to the NBA Finals, while putting the odds of the Nuggets pulling out another stunning, seven-game series victory at 13-to-1.

“I will say this: If (Clippers) Game 5 and (Clippers) Game 7 Paul Millsap shows up, then all bets are off,” Miller said. “Because he was fabulous at both ends of the floor (in those games) … if he plays anywhere near that consistently in this series, the Nuggets are a different team.”

Millsap only netted three boards and six points in Game 7, but the latter came on two second-half 3-pointers to help the 3 seed pull away again late. The 35-year-old forward registered a +19 in plus/minus over his 32 minutes of action, helping the Nuggets hold the Clips to 37.8% shooting from the floor.

The Denver veteran dropped 17 points on the Clippers in Game 5, 14 of them coming during a massive third-quarter surge. Millsap’s 17 points were the most he’d put up up since Aug. 3.

“I think he’s reinvented himself,” Webber said of Millsap, who’s averaged 8.4 points and 4.1 boards while connecting on 37.5% of his 3-point tries this postseason. “I love the fact he’s consistent, love the consistency that he brings. You can trust him.”

Webber trusts the Nuggets bench, too, a line of depth and defense that goes nine or 10 players deep, with or without rehabbing swing man Will Barton. He said it reminds him of his 2001-02 Sacramento squad that tussled with the Shaq-and-Kobe-Era Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Those Kings had a 3-2 series lead on Los Angeles before dropping Games 6 and 7 to the eventual NBA champs.

“It’s not foregone the Lakers are going to win this,” Miller stressed. “I know everyone is disappointed, and I am, that we won’t see the battle of L.A. But don’t go to sleep on the Denver Nuggets. Don’t. Do not do it.”

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