The Los Angeles Lakers travel to Mile High City hoping they would avert a three-game losing skid. But beating the Denver Nuggets on the road is going to be easier said than done for LeBron James and company. Who are you taking in this matchup?
Catch this game live on Sunday, January 16, at 10 AM, Manila time.
Away: Los Angeles Lakers (21-21/7-10 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: Malik Monk
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Trevor Ariza
- C: DeAndre Jordan
The Lakers find themselves in the crosshairs of their fans following back-to-back losses to the Memphis Grizzlies (127-119) at home and to the Sacramento Kings (125-116) on the road on Monday and Thursday, respectively. Los Angeles’ defense certainly needs some work based on how easily the team allowed the Grizzlies and the Kings to find their rhythms. Nevertheless, LeBron James continues to sustain his terrific form, having scored 34 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists versus the Kings.
It’s the consistency of James’ teammates, particularly, Russell Westbrook that’s been a big question mark for the reeling Lakers of late. Westbrook went 2/14 from the floor and scored just eight points in the loss to Sacramento. Over the last five Lakers games, Westbrook has shot an atrocious 29.3 FG% and 29.2 FT%, and he’s also failed to score more than nine points in any of his past three outings. At some point, Westbrook is going to break out of his slump, and that could happen this Sunday against Denver. The last time Westbrook was in Ball Arena, he posted a triple-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists last season in Washington Wizards threads. The Lakers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games against Denver.
Home: Denver Nuggets (21-19/10-7 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Monte Morris
- SG: Will Barton
- SF: Aaron Gordon
- PF: Jeff Green
- C: Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic must be licking his chops right now over the prospect of carving up the Anthony Davis-less Lakers. With Dwight Howard questionable to play this Sunday, Jokic could potentiall be left with a big man matchup against LeBron and the corpse of DeAndre Jordan. That is definitely music to the ears of the Serbian, who had 20 points, seven assists, and eight rebounds in Denver’s 140-108 home win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Denver shot 62.7% from the field in that game and also sank 21 of 42 attempts from deep.
The Nuggets are unlikely to be that efficient again on offense this Sunday, but they can look forward to having tremendous success on that end of the floor versus the Lakers, who have allowed their past four opponents to average 121.0 points on 51.4 FG% anf 37.7 3FG%. As for the Nuggets, they are averaging just 106.4 points per game this season, but are seventh in effective field goal percentage (53.8) and sixth in field goal percentage (46.6). Denver, which also gives up just 105.7 points per game, is 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games versus a team that owns a sub-.500 road record.
Spread: The Nuggets sure are coming off a big win, and look poised to take down a reeling Lakers team. Then again, beating the Blazers who are without Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Norman Powell was expected to be easy work for Denver. That’s not going to be the case Sunday even against a floundering Lakers squad. Leaning on a Lakers (+4) cover in this game.
Over/Under:This will be a game that could be dragging to watch due to Westbrook’s bricks and the Nuggets’ slow pace of play. Taking the Under (224.5) here.