Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Matchup Preview
The Lakers hold a 2-0 lead but this might be where the Nuggets want them after being down 3-1 in each of the prior two series. This was nearly a 1-1 series but Anthony Davis had other ideas. Los Angeles has been playing extremely well this postseason and Rajon Rondo being back has helped in a major way. Denver will need to have somebody step up not named Nikola Jokic or Jamal Murray. The Lakers were very foul prone last game as they had 30 fouls in Game 2. Denver was able to attack them at the rim, but that might not be the story in Game 3. It feels like Denver spoiled their chance to even the series as they shot the ball well and the Lakers had over 20 turnovers. This is concerning given the Nuggets had a lot in their favor and still lost the game. And it comes down to more than just Mason Plumlee slowly reacting on the final inbounds play.
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
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Lakers Starting 5
Los Angeles is closing in on a 3-0 series lead and are almost there to an NBA Finals appearance. The Lakers have struggled to let teams back into series where the Nuggets have clawed their way back in both. Defensively the Lakers have played excellent basketball of late while they let Davis and James carry the offense with the occasional secondary help. Rajon Rondo coming back has taken a lot of pressure off this Lakers team as he can be a ball handling option.
We know what we are going to get from this Lakers team and that is 20+ shot attempts from the big two and you hope Danny Green or KCP can have a few shots go down. Caruso and Rondo have been the better names off the bench and Howard has been another body to throw at Jokic and some of the Nuggets bigs.
Denver Nuggets Starting 5
The Nuggets are going to need either a monster game out of Jokic or Murray, or get quality minutes from secondary options. The Will Barton absence continues to haunt them in this series as they really need another option and this would push Jerami Grant back to coming off the bench. Game 2 was a tough loss to take as they were blown out in Game 1. Denver is a solid rebounding team but they have had stretches during each game where being out-rebounded really hurt their chances to take a lead or get back into the game.
Jokic and Murray combined for 55 points in the second game, while Michael Porter was the only one above ten points. Jeremi Grant had foul trouble and Gary Harris played some poor basketball with just three points and was -14.
Lakers vs Nuggets Fantasy Basketball Angle
LeBron James continues to be playing out of his mind, shooting 57% over the last ten games. He has a 31% usage rate in that span and is averaging over 55 fantasy points as well. It is hard to see him not continuing this night in and night out, and he remains a top option. At the same position, Jamal Murray’s reliance on his shot going down still resides, but the upside is there. He has averaged 38 fantasy points per game in the last ten games. The shooting guard position leaves a lot to be desired and you are likely looking at the Miami-Boston game for better options tomorrow. Michael Porter is an interesting name off the bench as he has a 22% usage rate and is averaging 1.08 FPPM over the last ten games.
The bigs are an easy target as you can look at Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic on the Denver side. Millsap has the potential to pack a stat line in shorter minutes. Jokic has had some slow starts to series where he comes alive midway through. Going up against a better defense in the Lakers is going to make it tougher in comparison to Utah and Los Angeles. Anthony Davis is the other stud averaging over 50 fantasy points in the last ten games.
Lakers vs Nuggets Betting Odds
Lakers Odds: -1100
Nuggets Odds: +650
Spread: LAL -6.5
Both teams have been strong ATS in their last five games, as Denver is 4-1 while the Lakers are 5-1 in their last six. The under has also been very favorable for Denver as it has gone 8-2 in the last ten games. Public money is leaning heavily on the Nuggets tonight with 60% of bets coming in on them covering the spread. There is certainly a favoring for them to even up the series. As for the over, the public is liking that as well. In the last ten meetings between these two teams the over has gone 4-5-1 while the ATS is split 5-5.
It is the Lakers who have won seven of the last ten games. Denver is technically the home team but that doesn’t mean much. It is usually a tough place to play and teams do struggle to play there, but we are in Orlando with no fans outside of what is on the screens. While Denver has rebounded in every other series, this is a tougher task facing the best duo in this postseason, in Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
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