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Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman preview Lakers-Nuggets game

April 2, 2011 |  2:48 pm

Much has changed since our last chat with The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman. He no longer has to run 40-yard sprints in 6.71 seconds to track down Carmelo Anthony in the latest saga of Melodrama. He's actually seen the Nuggets play defense, playing good enough to set up a first-round matchup as a fifth seed against Oklahoma City. And, of course, the Lakers are playing much better as well, going 17-1 since the All-Star break and entering Sunday's matchup with the Nuggets with a season-best nine-game winning streak.

Among the highlights with my conversation with Hochman:

--How the Nuggets have changed since they traded Anthony to the Knicks and how Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari

--Why Hochman believes the Nuggets could beat the Thunder in the first-round

--How the Nuggets are in a balancing act in resting Aaron Affalo's strained left hamstring for the playoffs, but ensuring they keep a lead over Portland in the standings.

--Why the Nuggets playing tough against the Lakers would be needed for an upset

--How Hochman fared against's Aaron Lopez in a race.

--You can follow more of Hochman's work at the Denver Post's website and on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

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