The Los Angeles Lakers are flirting with an appearance at the Play-In Tournament, which LeBron James has already vocally eviscerated. A win this Tuesday can keep the Lakers’ heads above water, but that’s going to be easier said than done against the streaking Denver Nuggets.
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HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (36-28, 17-15 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Alex Caruso
- SG: Ketavious Caldwell-Pope
- SF: LeBron James (If recovered from ankle soreness)
- PF: Anthony Davis
- C: Andre Drummond
That sound you just heard is the collective screams of Lakers fans after the team lost to the Toronto Raptors on Monday at home, 121-114. That’s their third loss in a row and sixth in seven games.
James is admittedly not in 100 percent form, but he doesn’t have the luxury to rest, with the Lakers trending towards an appearance to the Play-In Tournament. He also left today’s game agains the Raptors with right ankle soreness in the fourth quarter.
At some point, the Lakers will get it together and play to their true potential, and a bad loss at the hands of the Raptors could be the reality check that would get them out of their funk.
Now with Andre Drummond, the Lakers have a better tandem down low with Davis to contain Jokic. They’ve already done that back on Feb. 5, when they limited Jokic to only 13 points on 6-16 shooting in a 114-93 home win.
The Lakers are 3-1 against the spread in their last four games at home against Denver. Moreover, they have defeated the Nuggets in all of their past five meetings at STAPLES Center, dating back to the 2019-20 season.
ROAD TEAM: Denver Nuggets (43-21, 19-11 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Facundo Campazzo
- SG: PJ Dozier
- SF: Michael Porter Jr.
- PF: Aaron Gordon
- C: Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets can’t stop winning without Jamal Murray. Denver continues its success, as the team scored a 110-104 road win over the LA Clippers on Sunday, 110-104. The Nuggets will face the Lakers next on the heels of a five-game win streak and without having to travel much, with the game still in Hollywood for Tuesday’s outing.
They also seem to be catching the Lakers at just the right time, with the Purple and Gold in a slump — the direct opposite of Denver’s current status. Apart from their win streak, the Nuggets have also covered the spread in three of their last four games.
Michael Porter Jr. has been the not-so-secret weapon for the Nuggets, as the former Mizzou star averaged 29.2 points on 57.3 FG% over their last five games. As for the team’s best weapon. Nikola Jokic remains on track to win the MVP honors this season and should be a handful for the Lakers again.
He had 23 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists in Denver’s 122-105 home win over the Lakers on Feb. 15.
The Lakers are going to end their skid this Tuesday with a statement win. Take the Lakers to win and cover (-1).
The Lakers will win with their defense, shutting down MPJ and keeping Jokic in check all game long. Take the Under (221.5).