The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets wrap up their season series tonight at Pepsi Center. Denver leads the series 3-1, with the Nuggets taking the most recent matchup, 112-105 back on January 6. Tonight’s Western Conference contest is big for the other team not known as the Clippers for a multitude of reasons.
A win in Denver would push the Lakers current winning streak to four games, it would get the Lakers back to .500 for the first time since December 28, and it would put the Lakers within two games of the Houston Rockets and the eighth spot in the West.
Tonight’s contest will be the second game in as many nights for the Lakers. Los Angeles is coming off of a 103-99 win in Dallas Sunday morning due to a monster performance from Kobe Bryant, who had 38 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists. However, Los Angeles is 2-5 this season in the second game of back-to-backs.
Dwight Howard, who has been noticeably more aggressive since the All-Star break, had an off night offensively in Dallas but still crashed the boards, pulling down 13 rebounds. Expect Howard to have another field-day around the rim against the Nuggets tonight. Howard is averaging 17.7 rebounds in the Lakers' three games against Denver this season. Kosta Koufos has historically had great trouble defending Howard. The younger, more athletic JaVale McGee should play more minutes tonight to try and slow the more talented Howard.
The Denver Nuggets (35-22) are sitting comfortably in the fifth spot in the Western Conference. They are an athletic team that enjoys playing together and is at their best in transition. They are top three in the NBA in points per game at 105.2, but they are notorious for their lack of effort on defense, as they are currently ranking 26th in the league in points allowed.
They share the ball well and crash the boards hard, thanks to players with great motors, like Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala, and JaVale McGee. The Nuggets are the best offensive rebounding team in the league. The Lakers will need to limit Denver’s offensive rebounds as they lead to second chance points. The Nuggets average over 16 second-chance points per game.
#15 World Peace SF #8 Gallinari
#6 Clark PF #35 Faried
#12 Howard C #41 Koufos
#24 Bryant SG #9 Iguodala
#10 Nash PG #3 Lawson
The game tips-off at 6:00PM PT on TWC SportsNet and ESPNLA 710.
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