Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets 1/15/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Matchup Preview (1/15/22)
The Denver Nuggets will host the Los Angeles Lakers in a game between two teams with somewhat similar results on the season. These will likely be squads in the No. 6 to No. 8 seed range unless Porter Jr and Murray come back sooner versus later for the Nuggets. Denver’s last two games have been strange: it blew a 25-point lead to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second half of that incredibly low-scoring game, then dropped 140 points on the Portland Trail Blazers. It’s hard to gauge which Denver Nuggets team will show up on a nightly basis, but securing that win at home against Portland was a move in the right direction. The Lakers have dropped two straight games but won their previous four. It has been that kind of a season for Los Angeles, but regardless, LeBron James has played some unbelievable basketball. Additionally, Malik Monk has stepped up in a big way the past few weeks, so hopefully, he will give LeBron another solid offensive player to rely on.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Betting Odds
Denver is currently favored by 3.5 points at home against the LeBron-led Lakers. While I like giving the Nuggets the slight lean against the spread, I’m much more interested in the point total. Currently, the point total sits at 224.5, which is a bit high considering the Nuggets are liable to have rough nights on the offensive end. Both teams should get into triple digits; however, the Nuggets are bottom-five in the NBA in PACE. The Lakers will try to play at their speed, but I could see this being a game where each team takes a little longer than usual on offense. I’ll take the under.
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Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: Ball Arena – Denver, CO
Channel: NBA TV
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Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Lakers Analysis
The Lakers spent too much time chasing a “Big Three” and not enough time chasing shooters, which they desperately needed, in the off-season. They also did not value one of their most significant assets in Alex Caruso and let him walk after only offering him pennies on the dollar compared to what he got in Chicago. In turn, their defense and shooting have suffered. The Russell Westbrook experiment looks like a bust, and there should be a large enough sample size at this point to make that determination. Westbrook has averaged 7.7 points on 20% from the field in his past three games. No, that is not a typo. Luckily, the Lakers still have LeBron James, the ageless wonder, who has recently played at an MVP level, and Malik Monk, who has started to come into his own. The Lakers need Anthony Davis back sooner versus later if they want to make a run in the playoffs, but even then, which Davis will come back? He has been mediocre this season, at best. Los Angeles will need more than just the King to get it back on track, but hopefully, Monk can become a reliable answer.
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
Denver Nuggets Analysis
It has been rough sledding for the Denver Nuggets this season, especially when they lost Michael Porter Jr to another back injury, which has plagued him during his young NBA career. Additionally, they are still without All-Star guard Jamal Murray to an ACL injury he sustained before the playoffs last season. Even without two of its three best players, Denver has stayed competitive for a good portion of the season, almost entirely due to reigning MVP and current MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. Jokic has had one of the great seasons in the history of the NBA, but because he lacks the flash and athleticism of some other stars, he does not get as much hype as he probably should. Jokic is on pace to have the highest PER (player efficiency rating) in the NBA’s 75th anniversary. This includes other all-time greats like Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and more! Denver has shown it can pummel bad teams; however, when it goes up against the likes of top squads in the NBA, it can be overwhelmed by talent and depth.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Daily Fantasy Picks
Don’t look now, but Malik Monk is playing out of his mind for the Los Angeles Lakers. Monk has been on a tear after a slow start to his season, including missing five straight games in December. His averages this season are his best, but still underwhelming compared to what he has done recently. On the season, Monk has put up 12.3 points, three rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game for a struggling Lakers squad. However, in his past nine games, eight of which he started, Monk averaged 20.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game on a shooting split of almost 53/50/91. There are few players in the NBA, including stars, who can put up a nine-game average with that split, yet Monk has pulled it off. His salary is climbing daily, especially since he has started in eight of those nine games, but you can still get him for cheaper than a large portion of players. It would be best if you rode his hot streak out right now because the Lakers will need to continue leaning on him to help LeBron on the offensive side of the ball.
Once again, I don’t mind recommending the same player in two straight articles if the situation calls for it. In this case, I would be referring to Jeff Green, who has been terrific in his past four games. Green has not gotten a ton of offensive usage throughout the season, averaging just 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. However, Green has dropped 18, 16, 12, and 19 points in his past four games. What is most interesting is that he is getting fewer minutes during that span than his season average. Much of this increase in offensive output is due to the absence of JaMychal Green, who has been out for personal reasons. Surprisingly, that has led to more offensive usage but the same amount of minutes. Green’s efficiency should lend itself to a continual rise in usage while JaMychal is out, but hopefully when he comes back as well.