Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Matchup Preview
Game 3 was a big win for the Denver Nuggets as they would have had a tough time dropping four straight wins on LeBron James on the Lakers. It was Jamal Murray who made some clutch plays down the stretch but Jerami Grant had a great game as well. It was a game of runs down the stretch as the Nuggets had a big-time lead in the third before things got close. The Nuggets would go on to make it look a lot less close than it was in the final minutes of the game. With the Nuggets adjusting as they have been in the middle of the series all postseason long, it will be interesting to see if the Lakers change anything up, especially with defending Jamal Murray.
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
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Lakers Starting 5
When the Lakers fail to get any plus production out of the secondary options, the games become more difficult. Rajon Rondo had a very rough first half before getting the Lakers in combeack mode while in the fourth. However, in 30 minutes he was -13 and had four turnovers. Both him and James combined for ten turnovers and will need to clean that up. Outside of Davis, Jams, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, it was a poor shooting night at times. They struggled at the line and also from three going just 23%. Obviously, we expect them to rebound in those areas but the Nuggets were able to play some quality defense.
Los Angeles will also need to clean up on the glass as they allowed Denver 53 boards and nine offensive rebounds. This was to the Lakers four offensive rebounds and 21 defensive boards. Despite these larger numbers and 16 total turnovers, the Lakers still had chances to win this game and that is the encouraging part for Game 4. Both teams looked extremely tired down the stretch and we will have to see how that carries into Game 4. Los Angeles is going to need a secondary role player to step up and have a big night.
Denver Nuggets Starting 5
Denver was able to win Game 3 even with Nikola Jokic have some off moments. While he hit 9-14 shots, he had five turnovers and some of those shots are not going in nine times out of ten. He was another one who looked gassed down the stretch and Game 4 they are going to need a better game from him in terms of hitting better passes. Jerami Grant is the guy who should get a lot of attention outside of Jamal Murray. He had 26 points and two steals. Grant was also getting to the line as he hit 10 of 12 shots. Denver was able to out-rebound Los Angeles by nearly 20 and that will be a major advantage if they can even out-rebound them by ten. Turnovers killed the Nuggets at times with 20, and the Lakers were able to capitalize. A lot of that came down the stretch.
We know the Lakers are a high variance three point shooting team and Denver can’t bank on them shooting 23% again. Even if they hit 30% this is a closer game at the end. The defense will be key as Grant and Harris will need to pick it up on some of those secondary options.
Lakers vs Nuggets Fantasy Basketball Angle
Just like last game, LeBron James continues to be the high-priced option to build around. James continues to dominate in the playmaking role as he is a nightly triple-double threat. He is averaging 1.68 FPPM over the last ten games of the playoffs and is shooting 57%. Jamal Murray is going to have to log big minutes and have a heavier impact on the offensive side. He just missed out in Game 3 on a double-double. The shot continues to fall with him shooting 47% over the last ten games and has over a 30 fantasy point floor in that span. Jerami Grant and Michael Porter remain the names who come and go for fantasy value. Grant had his moment in Game 3 and he is someone who gets to the line often as well. Anthony Davis is the other obvious play alongside Nikola Jokic. The usage and FPPM lies with them.
Lakers vs Nuggets Betting Odds
Lakers Odds: -250
Nuggets Odds: +210
Spread: LAL -6
The public is still leaning heavily on the Nuggets being able to cover +6 and I do believe we see closer games down the stretch given fatigue set in heavy for both teams. And given that fatigue, the under is being hit hard. They got the over in Game 3, but it came close. Anthony Davis was struggling down the stretch as were most of the teams on the court. Denver has gotten better each game of the series over the course of the playoffs and we can see the adjustments being made from game-to-game. Jamal Murray was able to pick it up in Game 3 as he was the main one I saw the adjustments from getting to spots around a larger Lakers defense.
This game will likely teeter around the 214 total and I would look at the under here in what should be a slower game and potentially that fatigue sets in again and causes some shots that normally go in to come up short. It is hard to see the Nuggets falling flat in this one and the only way I find the Lakers covering is just the Nuggets having a complete meltdown on offense or the secondary players for the Lakers play out of their mind for a game and Denver can’t cope with it. I will lean on this one being a closer game and the Nuggets covering.
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