Sunday , Apr , 20 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe Bryant not Underestimating Denver Nuggets

"Every team is highly qualified. Ever since I started watching basketball, I can’t remember a race this tight."

The Lakers earned the top seed in the West by winning eight of their final nine games, giving them 57 victories. Five other teams in the West had at least 54 wins, and the Nuggets earned the eighth spot by winning 50 games for the first time in 20 years.

"A team that’s won 50 games and is the eighth seed, I think that’s remarkable," Lakers star Kobe Bryant said.

Game 1 will be played Sunday at Staples Center, where the Lakers have a 15-2 record against the Nuggets since the arena opened in 1999. The second game will be played Wednesday night before the best-of-seven series shifts to Denver. [ESPN]