2022-04-03
Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers
League : NBA

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Prediction & Preview



 

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

 

 

Denver travels to LA on Sunday afternoon to take on the Lakers. Denver has won three of their last four as they look to secure the sixth seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers’ five game losing streak has allowed the Spurs to overtake them for the final Western Conference playoff spot. This will be the second of three regular season meetings between the two teams, with Denver taking the first game at home in a 133-96 blowout. Tip off time for this game is 3:30pm ET.

 

The Nuggets Can Play Spoiler

While Denver has all but locked up a sixth seed or better, they have a unique opportunity to influence the race between the Lakers and the Spurs. The Nuggets play the Lakers twice and San Antonio once over their final four regular season games, and their performance could decide who gets the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. With Nikola Jokic not letting up while making his final push for his second straight MVP award, both teams will have to earn it.

 

 

 

Jokic stands tallest in a league of stars, and he makes the Nuggets a difficult opponent and a scary playoff matchup for any team. He leads Denver to the sixth-best adjusted offensive rating in the NBA per DunksandThrees.com, averaging 26.6 PPG on his own while the team puts up 112.3. The Nuggets are the second best field goal shooting team in the league at 48.2%, and they have been clicking well on offense recently averaging 123 PPG over their last six games.

The defense hasn’t been as strong, but they rate a respectable 17th in adjusted defense. They allow 109.1 PPG, and their perimeter defense is strong as opponents shoot just 34.4% from three point range. The Nuggets are strong on the defensive glass, pulling down 78.2% of their defensive rebounds.

 

The Lakers Need To Bounce Back From A Crucial Loss

The Lakers got LeBron James and Anthony Davis back from injury Friday night for their vital game against New Orleans, but, in spite of 38 points from LeBron, the Lakers couldn’t pull off a desperately needed victory. They are not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but their season is on life support and can’t afford any more losses like that if they are going to catch either the Spurs or the Pelicans.

 

 

 

Anthony Davis looked solid in his first action since February 16th. He hung up 23 points while grabbing 12 rebounds and staying on the court for 37 minutes. With Davis and LeBron back on the court it is certainly possible for the Lakers to go on a run and sneak into the playoffs. The Lakers season-long poor stats that have them ranked 23nd in adjusted offensive rating and 24th in adjusted defensive rating have made it tough on them, but until they are officially eliminated from playoff contention the potential of this dynamic duo makes them dangerous.

In order to make the playoffs they will likely have to beat Denver twice, which means they will need to find a way to stop Nikola Jokic. It is going to be tough for a team that lets opponents shoot 46.8% from the floor and only grabs 75.5% of their defensive rebounds. The return of Davis should help bolster their all around defensive play, but they lack a great matchup for Jokic.Notable Trends







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