Thus far, the 2009 NBA playoff Lakers have been a kind of Jekyll and Hyde story. One team takes care of business, defending their home court ferociously and putting away teams in big games. The other gets stomped on by a depleted Rockets team led by… Luis Scola? So which one is going to show up when the surprisingly well-balanced Nuggets come to town? Only time will tell, but it should be stated that the Lakers are going to dictate the winner.

When it comes down to it, in this series, the Lakers are the only ones who can beat the Lakers at this point. Chauncy Billups is playing great, but needs to be better than perfect for the Nuggets to have any chance. The same goes for Carmelo Anthony, who has averaged only 14.5 points on 32.8 percent shooting against the LA in their four regular season games.

If the Mamba can put up better than 27 per game against the likes of Ron Artest and Shane Battier, he probably isn’t going to have too much trouble against Denver’s athletic “defensive specialist” Dahntay Jones.

Frankly, the Nuggets are irrelevant in this series. If they don’t play well, they are done. If they do play well but the Lakers do too, they’re still done. All they can hope for is that Kobe hogs the ball or the Lakers have some kind of cataclysmic mental implosion. Even then, it’s going to take a whole lot more than the Nuggets can bring. Douchey Kobe lovers rejoice: Lakers in seven.