The Denver Nuggets (42-21) visit the Los Angeles (30-34) Lakers tonight in a clash of teams currently on three-game losing streaks. However, with Denver sitting comfortably as the West’s #2 seed and LAL four games below .500, all the pressure falls upon Lebron James’ Lakers to salvage their fading postseason hopes. The Denver Nuggets opened as 5.5 point favorites and a total of 227, the total has since jumped to 229.5.
Just two games behind Golden State atop the Western Conference standings, the NBA’s surprise success story has hit turbulence of late. Most recently, Denver was edged 104-103 by San Antonio in San Antonio. DeMar Derozan (24) and LaMarcus Aldridge (22) received just a hint more support than Nuggets leading scorers Jamal Murray (25) and Nikola Jokic (22). Another reason for Denver’s latest setback was the 2-of-8, 5 point performance from the usually solid Paul Milsap. Ultimately, though, San Antonio’s +10 FTM advantage sealed the Nuggets’ fate. Look for Denver to bounce back tonight vs. a Lakers team they hold a 2-1 record against this season.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS:
With the greatest player of his generation appearing unscathed by the hands of time, Los Angeles seemed poised for a massive turnaround in 18-19’. Unfortunately, that pre-destined Hollywood narrative is no longer materializing for Lebron James and company. Currently amid a 3-9 freefall, hosting a spate of injuries, LAL has dropped to tenth in the Western conference’s tight playoff race. Monday, veterans James (24 pts, 8 rebs, 6 ast) and Rajon Rondo (24 pts, 12 ast, 10 rebs) hauled a limp Lakers’ collective as far as possible before stumbling 113-105 vs. hometown rival LAC. Danilo Gallinari (23) and Lou Williams (21) led the Clippers’ efficient charge. Meanwhile, the Lakers shot just 26% from deep and 41% overall in another late-season setback. Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (ankle) will not play tonight vs. Denver. Tyson Chandler (neck), Lance Stephenson (toe), and Brandon Ingram (shoulder) are all listed as questionsble.
-Los Angeles is 18-14 at home SU this season
-Denver is 15-15 away SU this season
-Los Angeles is 12-19-1 ATS at home this season
-Denver is 12-18 ATS away this season
-Denver is 34-11 SU this season as the favorite
-Los Angeles is 8-15 SU this season as the underdog
-Los Angeles averages 112 ppg this season
-Denver averages 112 ppg this season
-Los Angeles allows 113 ppg this season
-Denver allows 107 ppg this season
Look for a near-100 percent healthy Denver squad to regain winning momentum vs. a banged up, incoherent Lakers unit.
The Nuggets’ inside-out balance, and depth, will be too much for a frustrated Lebron James to lift his precarious crew over.
In addition to the road win, Denver will also cover the spread tonight against LAL.
FINAL SCORE: Denver-118 Los Angeles-107