Nuggets Set To Host Lakers In Meeting Of Top Western Conference Squads

Both teams have gotten off to dominant starts

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Lakers (17-3) at Nuggets (13-4)

DEN -2, O/U 208, Tuesday December 3rd, 9:05pm EST

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  • A marquee matchup between the Western Conference’s top teams will take place on Tuesday night as the Los Angeles Lakers (17-3) take on the Denver Nuggets (13-4) at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets are listed as two-point home favorites and the over/under is listed at 208 points. 

  • LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers have the best record in the West, but caught Luka Doncic’s wrath last time out and fell 114-100 to the Dallas Mavericks. They had won 10-straight games heading into that contest. Overall, the Lakers have gone 11-9 ATS and the over has gone 8-12 in their games. 

  • Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets are tied for the second-best record in the West and are coming off of a 100-97 loss to the Sacramento Kings. They’ve won five of their last seven overall, but have gone 7-8 ATS this season and the over has gone just 4-13 in their contests. 

  • Both teams have excelled defensively and rank in the top-five in Defensive Rating. The Nuggets rank 1st (101.9) and the Lakers rank 5th (103.3). Therefore, don’t expect either offense to fully go off in this matchup. 

Nuggets

Interestingly, while the Lakers have been one of the best defensive teams in the league this season, they rank 29th in fast break points allowed per game (16.6). But they’ve surrendered just 42.8 points in the paint (5th). Since it’s conceivable that Frank Vogel will place a combination of Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard on Nikola Jokic, points in the paint will likely be hard to come by for the Nuggets in this matchup (specifically to frontcourt players).

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Therefore, it will be essential that Denver’s mid-range and perimeter shooters come to play and that Denver leaks out and tries to get out on the break. The Lakers have allowed their opponents to shoot just 33.6 percent from three this season (5th in the NBA), so Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap and company will have their hands full. As arguably the deepest team in the entire NBA, the Nuggets have a number of players that they can turn to off the bench, but have not had a consistent nightly source of points come from one player. Jamal Murray (18.5 points in 33.2 minutes) has shot 43.6 percent from the field while Jokic (15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists in 31.0 minutes) and Will Barton (15.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists in 32.8 minutes) also have the potential to put up 30-plus points on any given night. The only problem is that no one knows when any of them (if any) will step up on any given night. Coach Mike Malone’s defensive-first philosophy has paid off so far, but Denver will most likely need at least one dominant offensive performance to beat LA tonight.

Lakers

The Nuggets have defended the three-point line better than anyone else this season. Just 30.9 percent of opposing three-pointers have fallen through the net, which is a wildly-impressive stat in today’s perimeter-centric NBA. Unfortunately for Denver, the Lakers are not reliant on the three-ball. In fact, they’ve won 17 of 20 games while shooting just 35.8 percent from deep. LeBron James (25.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 10.9 assists in 34.9 minutes) is the NBA’s assist leader and looks completely revitalized after last year’s debacle of a season. Anthony Davis (26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.8 blocks in 34.6 minutes) has also been utterly dominant and has benefitted from LeBron’s deferral at various times on the offensive end. In all, you can count on both AD and LeBron to show up and deliver every single night.

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The rest of LA’s roster is built to support the aforementioned superstars. McGee and Howard split minutes at the center position and provide quality rebounding numbers as well as an overall defensive presence. Rajon Rondo spells LeBron at the backup point guard spot and has a veteran mindset. Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have provided minutes on the wing. In all, Vogel has been able to mix and match around his two stars, which has led to 12 different players playing in 10-plus games while averaging 14-plus minutes per contest. 

Prediction

This is going to be a fun one to watch! BetQL’s NBA Model lists one of these teams as the best bet ATS. Find out who it is!