Lakers vs. Nuggets Game 4 Preview (LA Leads 2-1)
Los Angeles (-255) is favored by 6 points over Denver (+205) with the over/under set at 214.5 total points
- The Denver Nuggets have been improving their play as the Western Conference Finals have progressed and are coming off a big win in Game 3 over the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Los Angeles still holds a 2-1 lead in the series.
- Denver has been riding strong performances from both Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray while the Lakers have trusted their offense with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Will any other player step up when it matters the most?
- Los Angeles (-255) is favored over Denver (+205) with the over/under set at 214.5 total points. The Lakers are 6-point favorites. CLICK FOR LIVE GAME ODDS!
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The Denver Nuggets came just seconds away from winning Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, and they avoided a huge deficit with a 114-106 win in Game 3. The victory was more one-sided than you would have expected, though, as the Nuggets led by nearly 20 points during the second half.
The big question everyone is asking right now is whether this win will be enough to shift the momentum of the series. Denver could easily be up 2-1 in the series, but Los Angeles seemed to wake up in the final minutes of Game 3. No one would be shocked if they were up 3-0 and just one win away from reaching the NBA Finals. That’s how tight the series has been.
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When we look at the numbers, it would seem to suggest that the Lakers are ready for a bounce-back performance. Los Angeles is 22-11 right after a loss during the current season and they’ve won right after losing a game in the two prior instances during their postseason run.
Plus, the Lakers have tallied better numbers overall as a team when comparing themselves to the Nuggets. Los Angeles has scored 113.7 points per game during the current playoff run, the third-best mark in the league -- quite superior to the Nuggets, who “only” score 107.4 points per contest.
Denver has the worst offense from the four remaining teams in the playoffs, in fact. Considering Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have combined to average 51.8 points per game, this illustrates the dependency the Nuggets have on their star duo -- they average nearly 50 percent of the Nuggets points per game. Other players have to step up, but they don’t have many options to rely on outside of Murray and Jokic.
The Lakers haven't taken a different approach with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis averaging a combined 54.4 points per game -- both are in the top-10 in points per game during the postseason. The big difference is that the Lakers have enough depth to have a third player step up.
Superior Supporting Cast
Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Markieff Morris, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have all scored at least 15 points on one occasion during the playoffs. Danny Green has scored in double-digits seven times already. James and Davis will continue to lead the offense, but the Lakers have a clear edge in terms of the supporting cast.
The Nuggets have to repeat what they accomplished in Game 3 to have a chance at tying the series, but the Lakers remain the better team on paper. A return to normalcy on their end could be enough to put them up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals.