While the Boston Celtics have seemingly waved the white flag in their series against the Miami Heat, the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers have managed to stay relatively competitive even though it’s a 3-0 lead in the Nuggets favor. Jamal Murray put on a scoring clinic by exploding for 37 points, seemingly finding his shot at will against the Lakers perimeter pressure.
Nuggets vs Lakers 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. With the Lakers backs against the wall, their star players will need to step up in a major way if they want to avoid getting swept on their home court.
SGP Leg 1: Nuggets +4.5
Even with the Lakers in full on desperation mode, the Nuggets simply have too much firepower for them to limit. Especially with Jamal Murray getting into a rhythm, giving Nikola Jokic free reign to do damage in the interior as the NBA’s most versatile big man as the Lakers have to sacrifice their interior coverage to stretch out and get a hand in Murray’s face.
Throwing more coverage at Murray is essentially a double-edged sword against the Lakers, having to trade D’Angelo Russell’s minutes with Dennis Schroder as he is the superior on-ball defender. Russell has essentially been a non-factor in this series, finishing game three with three points on one for eight shooting and a -12 +/-.
The issue with giving more minutes to Schroder is that he is a step down in offensive production, severely halting the Lakers offensive flow as an already anemic unit. This plays into the Nuggets favor, out running the Lakers scoring pace as the more versatile scoring unit.
SGP Leg 2: D’Angelo Russell u17.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists
In my SGP for game three, I made a plea to Lakers head coach Darvin Ham to limit D’Angelo Russell’s minutes as he has hurt the team more than he has helped. Russell still got the starting nod yet was drastically reduced to 20 minutes as he failed to find any sort of production from the start.
D'Angelo Russell this series:
Game 1: 8 Points, 4/11 FGM, 0/3 3PM
Game 2: 10 Points, 3/8 FGM, 1/5 3PM
Game 3: 3 Points, 1/8 FGM, 1/6 3PM pic.twitter.com/wSqc17RinH
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 21, 2023
While he is still the expected starter, for now, I am expecting more of the same as he continues to be on a minute’s restriction. This is based off an emphasis of increased defensive pressure, sending in Schroder to hound Jamal Murray around the perimeter.
SGP Leg 3: Austin Reaves o25.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists
While D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder have struggled to establish their identity on offense, Austin Reaves has been a revelation for the Lakers. He has rounded out as a true offensive threat in this series, finishing the last contest with 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Reaves is showing no signs of slowing down as he has benefited from opposite side single coverage as the Nuggets have had to shade towards Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
With more room to work with, as well as developing into a crafty finisher near the rim, Reaves consistently generates high quality looks that keeps him in contention of once again clearing this number.
SGP Leg 4: Michael Porter Jr o2.5 Threes
This has been a staple of my SGP’s as Michael Porter Jr’s volume continues to put him in a good position of clearing this number. He finished game three with four completed threes on ten shot attempts from deep.
Like Austin Reaves, Porter Jr benefits from a shift in defensive coverage as the Lakers have had to focus on the star duo of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. This allows Porter Jr to hover around the opposite side gaps in coverage, putting up high quality looks from deep as an elite three-point shooter as the recipient of a Jokic pass from the interior.
SGP Betting Card
- Nuggets +4.5
- D’Angelo Russell u17.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists
- Austin Reaves o25.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists
- Michael Porter Jr o2.5 Threes
Full SGP Odds: +850 ($10 wins $85)