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Shaq: “If Denver is focused and the Lakers are focused, might be another sweep”

NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley weighed in on the upcoming first round series between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers, with Shaq suggesting a potential sweep if both teams bring their focus to the court.

During Inside The NBA on TNT, Shaq emphasized the importance of focus for both teams, stating that if Denver and the Lakers are fully concentrated, it could result in another sweep.

“LeBron said, it’s going to be a tough task,” O’Neal said. “AD is going to have to play out of this world magnificent ball. But even then they don’t have an answer for the Joker.

“Denver plays with much energy that they are the defending champion. They’re definitely going to be ready. Hopefully Denver can have some slippage so the Lakers can some success. But if Denver is focused and the Lakers are focused, might be another sweep.”

Barkley pointed out the significance of Jamal Murray’s performance for the Nuggets, highlighting him as the key player behind Nikola Jokic for Denver’s success in the series.

“For me it’s all about Jamal Murray,” Barkley said. “First of all, the Joker, he’s on a whole another planet right now. Let’s just take him out of the equation. They can’t stop him.

“But Aaron Gordon is one of the few people who are big enough, strong enough to hang with LeBron because LeBron got a perfect body as far as he’s 6-8/6-9 and strong. There’s not many guys have that combination. Normally you have a big guy who’s skinny, who’s not strong. Aaron Gordon can make him work hard.

“But the key if you go back to last year when the Nuggets start becoming champions who was the best player out there? Jamal Murray has to be the second best player and he’s the key to the Nuggets.

“The Joker gonna do what Joker does, but everybody else going to do what they do, but the key is Jamal Murray. If he’s the second best player on the Nuggets team, they going to come out o the West.”

Last season, the Nuggets swept the Lakers 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals, adding extra intrigue to this upcoming playoff matchup.

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