Game: Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Lakers
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Nuggets -1, Lakers +1
The Los Angeles Lakers have reasons to be optimistic about the season ahead after a valiant comeback and a close overtime loss to the best team in the NBA. The Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics 122-118 at home on Tuesday. The Celtics, of course, have the best record in the league. Now, the Lakers welcome Denver to Crypto.com Arena tonight to try and get over the hump.
The Lakers think they can go further after starting the season 2-10 and going 9-6 since. They experienced it on December 2 when they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 133-129 on the road to start a 3-3 road trip. Los Angeles has improved, but they have lost their last two in a row.
In the losses to Boston and Philadelphia this week, both games went to overtime. In each game, the Lakers had to rally to force overtime. If Anthony Davis would have been able to make some key free throws late in each game, the Lakers might have won both.
With 3.7 seconds left against the Sixers, Davis had a chance to win the game but missed one of his two free throws forcing overtime. With 28.2 seconds left and a two-point lead over the Celtics, Davis missed two free throws, allowing Boston to tie the game and go to overtime.
After a season-long three-game losing streak to start December, the Nuggets were left scratching their heads. However, they have come back to go on a three-game winning streak. They now look like the team that won four straight games to end November.
The Nuggets (17-10) recently defeated the Washington Wizards at home, 141-128. The game was the highest point total for Denver this season and featured a season-high 43 points from Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets set a team record with 98 points in the paint. Denver shot a blistering 65.1 percent from the floor against the Wizards.
Jokic also pulled down 14 rebounds while making 17-of-20 field goal attempts. With 24.6 points per game, 10.3 rebounds per game, and 9.0 assists per game, the two-time defending NBA MVP leads the Nuggets. He also leads the team with 1.4 steals per game. Jokic received his MVP trophy for the 2021–22 season after the game as the team gathered in the locker room.
It won’t be as easy to score inside against the Lakers. Denver will also need to play better defense after Washington’s improvised lineup shot 52.7 percent from the field and 48.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Denver is 7-3 SU in its last ten games. The Nuggets are only 1-5 ATS in their last six. Denver is 9-7 SU on the road this season, but they are 8-4 in their last 12 away games. Los Angeles is 1-4 SU in its last five games. The Lakers have had success playing the Nuggets at home. L.A. is 7-1 SU in the last eight against Denver at home.
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