Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel hopes to use JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard in the Western Finals

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – After playing the roles of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard in the second round of the NBA playoffs against the smaller Ball-Centric Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers chief Frank Vogel admitted he would need to bring his big players back to the Western Conference Finals In the fold against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

“Joker ‘is one of the most unique players in the world, and one of the most unique players to play in a center position in this league,” Vogel said. “He can basically hurt you all the way. He’s playing a 4-on 3 game on the 3-point line, in the pocket, in the post, and obviously can hurt with his passing. ..

“It makes this series a little bit different – a lot different, really – how much we’ll use our centers. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but obviously we’re going to be. The LA Lakers, which we all year. We adjusted to a small ball team for the last series, but I would expect us to return to form. ”

McGee and Howard played in the final four games of the conference semi-finals for 23 minutes combined, winning all the Lakers, mind you – as Vogel plugged in Markieff Morris on stretch 5 and Anthony Davis to play the Axis Also called for more wealth.

But LA’s size was a strength throughout the season, as it led the league in blocks and finished ninth in rebounding. Joki – averaging 25.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists in the playoffs so far on 51.5% shooting – is the type of enemy the Lakers will try to meet with the Force in a series starting Friday.

For Howard, who was also reluctant to join the team in Florida, as he took care of his children and focused on the racial disparities facing the nation, temporarily losing his place in the rotation was a challenge. But he forged through it, along with McGee, turning into two of the biggest cheerleaders in NBA history.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since July, Howard said, “Energy is very important, and if our spirits are down, he always said that one bad apple can spoil an entire basket.” “If we’re down on our energy, it can be contagious, it can go to another player and another player. We just need to focus on all the positive things, regardless of what we’re doing – a lot. People are. Things that get worse and that are not in the bubble here, so we can always find a way to stay positive. ”

Howard’s 6-year-old son, David, who joined his father to help the bubble stay when the Lakers were allowed to bring a family to the NBA campus. David’s mother, Melissa Rios, died in March.

But there are no basketball games to play in – or cheer for monotony.

“There’s really nothing to do,” Howard said. “If I can be honest with you, there’s nowhere to go. There’s no way to release anything. Any feelings that you might have, it’s just like we’re stuck. So, just this Try to take pleasure in the fact that I have mine. ” Son with me, for the fact that we have to win eight games to win a championship.

“So I just try to be positive with everything. But it’s very difficult, being in one place I can’t get out, leave family, friends. You’re just in the hotel. So it’s very Hard, seeing. The same wall every day. But at the end of the day… it might not really allow us to impress much, but it’s very difficult. ”

His team will try to complete the task of making it through two more rounds and dropping the bubble as champions, making the sacrifices worth it. But even with the Milwaukee Bucks leading the East and the Nuggets out of the LA Clippers, there is no guaranteed route to the NBA title.

“I think with Denver, they’re just a great overall basketball team. They play well with each other. They share the rock. Move around. Cut around. Great shooters. They got it. The whole team was found, ”said Lakers Kyle Kuzma. . “So, our hands are full.”

And it’s not just a nugget, either.

“Either of these three teams can beat us, and the Denver Nuggets are a fantastic basketball team. So are the Boston Celtics, so are the Miami Heat,” Vogel said. “So when we have players, we are not there as a group yet. So we are still super hungry to get the job done, to recognize and respect opponents that are still left.”