The Los Angeles Lakers are seeking their 33rd trip to the NBA Finals. LeBron James is seeking his 11th. And the Denver Nuggets are seeking their first.

Denver has been the team that everyone has chased in the Western Conference for most of the season. The Nuggets moved atop the conference standings in mid-December and stayed there the rest of the way. The Lakers started 2-10 and didn’t spend a single day over the .500 mark until March 31. But they’re 18-6 in their last 24 games. That’s the NBA’s best record over that span.

Key matchup: Denver’s Nikola Jokic vs. the Lakers’ Anthony Davis. Jokic cannot be stopped. The two-time MVP is Mr. Everything for Denver, a triple-double machine who makes scoring, passing and rebounding look so easy. But Davis is one of the best defenders in the game and likely one of the few players in the NBA who truly can make life difficult for someone as strong and skilled as Jokic.

Injury watch: There isn’t much to report here. James and Davis have nagging issues that require them to be on the injury report, but unless something else happens, they’re always going to play.

Numbers of note: Denver is 40-7 at home this season, on pace for the NBA’s best home record since Golden State went 45-5 in 2016-17. … It’s a rematch of the 2020 West finals from the NBA’s bubble restart, won by the Lakers in five games on their way to a 17th championship.

Among those who played in that series, only two Lakers (James and Davis) and three Nuggets (Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.) remain with those clubs. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a Laker then; he’s a Nugget now.

James averaged 25 points in three games vs. Denver this season, while Davis averaged 18.3 points and 11 rebounds. … For the Nuggets, Jokic was one assist shy of averaging a triple-double (23.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 9.8 assists) against the Lakers this season, and Murray averaged 22.8 points. … The Lakers and Nuggets haven’t faced off since Jan. 9.

The only player to start for the Lakers in all four games against Denver this season was Patrick Beverley — who is no longer with them. LA used 18 different players against Denver this season; eight of them no longer play for the Lakers.

TOP PERFORMERS: Jokic is shooting 63.2% and averaging 24.5 points for the Nuggets. Murray is averaging 2.8 made 3-pointers over the last 10 games for Denver.

Anthony Davis is averaging 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and two blocks for the Lakers. LeBron James is averaging 23.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists over the past 10 games for Los Angeles.

LAST 10 GAMES: Nuggets: 7-3, averaging 116.5 points, 43.4 rebounds, 25.3 assists, 7.7 steals and 3.6 blocks per game while shooting 49.3% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 109.3 points per game.