The Nuggets Want You to Forget What You Heard About the Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets have spent the past few months hearing that they weren’t to be trusted in the playoffs, that Nikola Jokic, a two-time most valuable player, couldn’t lead them to postseason success, that their record, the best in the Western Conference for most of the season, was some kind of mirage.

Nobody was scared of them in the playoffs, or so the narrative went.

But in the first two rounds of the playoffs this year, the Nuggets had defied their reputation of fading in the postseason by easily dispatching Minnesota and Phoenix. They seemed to be doing the same to the Lakers on Tuesday night, as they dominated for most of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. But as the second half wore on, Denver left room for doubts about their playoff toughness to creep back in.

Fair or not, what’s at stake for the Nuggets in this series, which they lead, 1-0, after a 132-126 win on Tuesday, is their ability to prove that their elite play is not an illusion that disappears in May.

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