Nuggets earn 6th seed in West, draw Lakers to open playoffs

First round starts Sunday in Los Angeles

It’s playoff time.

By winning 11 of their final 15 games, the Nuggets caputured the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and will open the playoffs on the road Sunday against the third-seeded Los Angeles Lakers.

Denver (38-28) and the Lakers have met in the postseason twice in the past five years, with L.A. sweeping a first-round series in 2008 and winning 4-2 in the 2009 Western Confernence finals.

The Lakers won three of four games against the Nuggets during the regular season, but Los Angeles will be without starting forward Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) for at least six games of the playoffs. World Peace received a seven-game suspension for elbowing Oklahoma City swingman James Harden on Sunday.

“I’ll give Artest that he’s a lock-down defender at the end of a game and can take a player and control him at a high level without a lot of help,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “That’s very important.”

"They’ve got good NBA players and (Matt) Barnes and (Steve) Blake and (Devin) Ebanks are going to play more minutes. I would think it’s going to be more Barnes. Is he as good as Artest? Some nights he is, some nights he isn’t. The luxury of having both of them is usually you get a good performance fromm one of them."

The Lakers are led by 13-time All-Star Kobe Bryant, who averaged 27.9 points and finished one-tenth of a point behind NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant.

The complete first-round playoff schedule is listed below. To purchase tickets for Games 3, 4 and 6 at Pepsi Center, click here .

Game Date Site Time (MDT) TV Radio
1 4/29 Staples Center 1:30 p.m. ABC AM 950, 1510/FM 93.7, 104.3
2 5/1 Staples Center 8:30 p.m. Altitude/TNT AM 950, 1510/FM 93.7, 104.3
3 5/4 Pepsi Center 8:30 p.m. Altitude/ESPN AM 950, 1510/FM 93.7, 104.3
4 5/6 Pepsi Center 7:30 p.m. Altitude/TNT AM 950, 1510/FM 93.7, 104.3
5* 5/8 Staples Center TBD TBD AM 950, 1510/FM 93.7, 104.3
6* 5/10 Pepsi Center TBD TBD AM 950, 1510/FM 93.7, 104.3
7* 5/1 Staples Center TBD TNT AM 950, 1510/FM 93.7, 104.3

*If necessary