Former NBA player-turned-analyst Richard Jefferson has picked the Denver Nuggets to beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, all after Jamal Murray called out the media for doubting on the Nuggets, who eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the postseason. The Nuggets return from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Clippers, who were seen as one of the favorites to win it all this season.
Following Game 7, Murray took a shot at some media personalities for overlooking the Nuggets.
“You got Shaq, you got Charles (Barkley), I think Zach Lowe his name … Stephen A. (Smith), all y’all better start giving this team some damn respect,” Murray told reporters. “Because we put in the work. We got a resilient team. We shouldn’t have been down 3-1, but to come back from 3-1 against the Clippers is a big achievement so it’s fun just to change that narrative.”
Murray's words changed something in the media and Jefferson has picked the Nuggets to get past LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the WCF. During Wednesday's edition of ESPN's The Jump, he explained why the media was reluctant to believe in the Nuggets.
"Well let me say this, a couple of things. One, he is right and he is wrong at the exact same time. Jamal, you know my feelings towards you but this is the thing. You had the chance to go to postseason and you lost in a single game situation against Minnesota. Then the next year you go and you're up 3-2 and you have a Game 7 at home and you lose to a short-handed Portland Trail Blazers. Then you're down 3-1 to the Utah Jazz, then you go and understandably you're down 3-1 to the Clippers, so it's not like we haven't been given a sample size as of why people should question whether or not you guys can finish this stuff off, but he is right. They need to start believing in what this team can do."
Then, Jefferson claimed he was going to be the first one to trust the Nuggets and said they were going to be the Lakers in seven games.
"I'm going to say the Denver Nuggets are going to win this series in seven," Jefferson said. "If they're tired of people not giving them the credit, then I'll be the first one in the media to give you guys credit and say I believe you guys can make it to the NBA Finals and I believe that it's going to be done in seven games."
"They have been down 3-1 a couple of times but I'm going to be the first one in the media to give them credit and say that they can do this in seven. Prove me right, Jamal."
That is a bold claim but seeing the heart the Nuggets have shown throughout this postseason, they have a chance to beat the Lakers and come out of the West. The Lakers are unlikely to fall apart as the Jazz and Clippers did but Murray and Nikola Jokic know they have nothing to lose and just like the Clippers in the past series, the Lakers are the one under pressure now.