Denver Nuggets vs L.A. Lakers 9/26/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds (Stream Online)
Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Matchup Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers will look to move on to the NBA Finals tonight with a win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. After opening the series down 2-0, the Denver Nuggets fought back into the series with a Game 3 win. Looking to tie the series up at two apiece, the Nuggets fell short in Game 4 and now find themselves down 3-1 and facing elimination (yet again). The Nuggets have thrived with their backs against the wall all playoffs long. However, this time, their opponent is a juggernaut in the Los Angeles Lakers.
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: The Arena, Bay Lake, FL
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Lakers Starting 5
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Dwight Howard
Unlike the other Los Angeles team in the NBA, the Lakers are where everyone expected them to be at this time. In the Western Conference Finals and leading 3-1. After a 52-win season, the Lakers continued their dominance in the playoffs. They cruised to a 4-1 series win over the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, another 4-1 series win against the Houston Rockets in the second round and now they are looking to do the same to the Denver Nuggets here in the Western Conference Finals.
We know what we are going to get out of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. If the Lakers want to win Game 4 and clinch the series tonight, they will need some help from their supporting cast as well. Los Angeles can expect their toughest game from Denver tonight and the dominance of James and Davis alone won’t be enough without some additional help. Rajon Rondo coming off the bench and giving James a break is something the Lakers rely on. If Rondo can continue to put in 20+ minutes with high assist numbers and 6-10 points of his own, it will be hard for Denver to find time to close the gap on any deficits they may face. If the Lakers can outscore Denver with James and/or Davis on the bench, then this series will be over tonight.
Denver Nuggets Starting 5
Like the Lakers, the Nuggets have two stars who carry most of their offense in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Both players are capable of taking the game over at any time and going on long scoring runs. The Nuggets have proven time and time again this postseason that they are never out of a series no matter the deficit. They were down 3-1 against the Utah Jazz before coming back to win the series in Game 7 and then they repeated that process against the Los Angeles Clippers. Doing it a third time, against a team like the Lakers, maybe too difficult this time.
Also, like the Lakers, Denver will be looking for some major contributions from secondary players. Paul Milsap has had some big minutes during these playoffs to help his team make a run and he will have to do so again tonight. Their lone win this series, Milsap played 31 minutes (averaging just over 21 minutes in the three losses). In their win, Jerami Grant posted 26 points in one of his best games of the season. Grant put up 17 in the last game and will need to do a little more in tonight’s game to help his team avoid elimination.
Nuggets vs Lakers Betting Odds
Lakers Odds: -200
Nuggets Odds: +170
Spread: LAL -5.5
The public appears to be pretty split on this one with the slightest of edges going on the Nuggets spread (51%). The Nuggets have come back from down 3-1 twice in these playoffs but this time, it is against a different animal. The Lakers are arguably the best team in the NBA. They are a more difficult matchup for the Nuggets than the Jazz and Clippers were. Expecting the Nuggets to continue their Cinderella story tonight might be too big of a fairy tale to come true.
Los Angeles will be looking to close this series out tonight to get some rest for an aging James and company. Once they pull ahead early, they won’t be looking to slow down. The Nuggets will find themselves trailing late and resorting to bad shot selections against a very good Lakers defense. Once this begins, the Laker lead will increase. Unless the Nuggets shoot a very high 3PT percentage in this game, their odds of covering seem slim. Look for the best team to flex its muscle and put this series away tonight and ending an impressive Denver run. Lakers should get the win and the cover in a game that goes under the total because of some bad shooting late in the game from Denver.
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