What looked like to be a surefire Nuggets win in game one, the Lakers built together an impressive second half run that narrowed the Denver lead down to three. Unable to string together the comeback victory, the Lakers did reward their backers by covering +6.5. Both units flashed upside throughout the contest with neither looking capable of dominating the rest of the series.
Lakers vs Nuggets SGP Best Bets
With the NBA action dwindling to a game a night, let’s dive deep into the matchup and muster up a SGP off of how I think the game script will go. The Nuggets were able to take game one on their homecourt, now looking to amplify the pressure by taking a 2-0 series lead. Can LeBron and company limit the Nuggets onslaught of scoring?
SGP Leg 1: Under 227
If the Lakers want to have a puncher’s chance of winning this series against the Nuggets, then they will need to continue to find the same defensive success that they had at various points in the second half. This halted the scorching hot Nuggets shooting into scoring lulls, giving the Lakers a chance to minimize the gap in their comeback effort.
I expect more of the same from this spirited effort early in game two, something we didn’t witness until late in their previous game as the Nuggets had full control from the opening tip. When Darvin Ham threw Rui on Jokic with AD hovering on the opposite side for a double team, this stalled the Nuggets offense as Jokic struggled to create separation off the block.
While thinned out across the perimeter, the Lakers did an excellent job at scrambling back to the open shooter to get a hand in their face. This either forced a bad look from deep or Jamal Murray to shoulder the load and attack the interior himself. Stalling out the clock for limited scoring opportunities.
SGP Leg 2: Lakers +6
LeBron has a history of underwhelming in the first game of the series when on the road, using it to scout out his opponent and make adjustments that typically translate to a losing effort. Those adjustments came early in the second half, laying out the blueprint on how to slow down the Denver Nuggets.
I debated using their moneyline in this SGP as I really like what I saw in the second half, but I am taking the added security by potentially covering the number instead with their spread of no lower than +6.
SGP Leg 3: Austin Reaves u15.5 Points
Not only did the Lakers second half success stem from the defensive end, but they managed to find some scoring consistency on the offensive end as well. This came off the back of attacking Jamal Murray at the perimeter, running the pick and roll with Anthony Davis screening down the middle.
This stretched Jokic away from the rim as well as taking advantage of Murray’s weak on-ball defense. LeBron took a backseat in his slashing efforts early in the contest, ramping up the pressure in the second half by attacking the rim.
Expecting a higher usage rate out of LeBron in game two, as well as maintaining utilizing Anthony Davis at a high clip, I am expecting Austin Reaves to play a more spot up role which limits the quantity of looks at the rim. He thrives more in a slashing role but takes a step back in this scheme to LeBron.
SGP Leg 4: Nikola Jokic o10.5 Assists
Rounding out the theme of a defensive minded game two, I am taking the over on Jokic’s assists as his quality of looks at the rim will be tempered when in the interior. This forces Jokic into more of a passing role, an area that he thrives in as the NBA’s best passing big man.
Nikola Jokic's best assists of the playoffs, so far. pic.twitter.com/fxWBxPdceO
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) May 18, 2023
The Lakers will continue to throw doubles at Jokic on the block with a stretched-out Anthony Davis hovering on the opposite side, leaving the perimeter open for Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Michael Porter Jr to exploit.
The perimeter brings more variance in a completion perspective but plays right into our hands with Jokic racking up potential assist opportunities.
Full Lakers vs Nuggets SGP Betting Card
- Under 227
- Lakers +6
- Austin Reaves u15.5 points
- Nikola Jokic o10.5 assists
Full SGP Odds: +1200 ($10 wins $120)