The streaking Denver Nuggets will look to win their season series with the struggling LA Lakers when they visit Staples Center on Monday night. This will be the visitors’ second game in Los Angeles in three days after they beat the LA Clippers 110-104 on Saturday for their fifth straight victory.
There are only eight games left on the Denver Nuggets’ schedule, which makes this game against the LA Lakers one that they need to win if they want to move higher in the West standings.
The Nuggets (43-21) are just three games back of the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns, who have identical 46-18 records. It’s a bit of a stretch to catch up to either of these teams but Nikola Jokic and company will give it a shot.
At the other end, the LA Lakers (36-28) are now in sixth place in the West after a 121-114 loss left them in a triple tie with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers. The three teams are set to battle it out for the sixth spot to avoid being in the play-in tournament which includes the 7th to 10th placers in the conference.
Fixture - Denver Nuggets vs LA Lakers | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Monday, May 3rd, 10:00 PM ET (Tuesday, May 4th, 7:30 AM IST)
Venue - STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
Denver Nuggets Preview
The naysayers have all but vanished after the Denver Nuggets went 9-1 since Jamal Murray went down with a season-ending ACL injury on April 12. Rather than succumb to the pressure of playing without their best player, the team has played with a greater sense of urgency, recognizing that they each have to step up.
Even with Will Barton and Monte Morris out of the lineup for several games, the Denver Nuggets have continued to vanquish teams with their depth and offensive fluidity. In their last 10 games, the Nuggets have had the third-best offensive rating in the league (117.9) while staying in the top 10 in defensive rating (8th, 110.0).
With the LA Lakers having one of their worst stretches of the season, the Denver Nuggets have an excellent opportunity to win their second straight game in Los Angeles.
Key Player - Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Porter Jr. has elevated his game with his teammate out for the season. The 22-year old scored below 20 points just once in the last 10 contests and is averaging 25.6 points per game during that stretch. Compare that to his 18.9 points-per-game average during the season, which shows just how big a jump his game has taken recently.
He may or may not get the chance to face off against the LA Lakers’ LeBron James, who is likely questionable for the game on Monday.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Facundo Campazzo l Shooting Guard - PJ Dozier l Small Forward - Michael Porter Jr. l Power Forward - Aaron Gordon l Center - Nikola Jokic
LA Lakers Preview
The LA Lakers are reeling after their latest setback dropped them further down the standings. It will take a huge collective effort from every team member to avoid a disastrous trek to the finish line. Unfortunately, there’s a chance that LeBron James may not play against the Denver Nuggets. He left midway through the fourth quarter of the Raptors game and never returned due to a sore ankle.
Additionally, Dennis Schroder is out for the Denver Nuggets game due to COVID-19 protocols and there's no timetable as to when he'll return.
Sunday’s debacle was the LA Lakers’ sixth loss in their last seven games, giving other contenders confidence against the defending champions. In each of the six losses, their opponents had scored at least 108 points with a high of 121, which the Raptors scored against them. The 112.0 points that opponents have averaged against them during these last seven outings is almost six points more than what teams had been able to score against them previously (106.1).
Key Player - Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis had shown progress since returning to the LA Lakers lineup prior to the loss to Toronto. In the previous three games, the eight-time All-Star had averaged 22.0 points on 50 percent shooting and was grabbing 8.0 rebounds per game plus 3.0 blocks a night.
But his 12-point performance on 5-of-16 shooting from the field doomed the LA Lakers in their last game. He is one of the primary reasons why they are in this predicament but it also demonstrates how crucial he is to their success. If James misses the game against the Denver Nuggets, 28-year-old Davis will need to step up his game and take the leadership role.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Alex Caruso l Shooting Guard - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope l Small Forward - Kyle Kuzma l Power Forward - Markieff Morris l Center - Andre Drummond
Nuggets vs Lakers Match Prediction
The Denver Nuggets are aiming to take the season series from the LA Lakers, who are in desperate need of a win. The teams split their first two meetings this season when they played both games just 10 days apart in February.
Against a high-octane offensive team like the Denver Nuggets, the LA Lakers will have to address their defensive deficiencies immediately. But based on their recent outings, it doesn’t look like the Purple and Gold are close to getting their act together on that end of the floor.
Expect a big win by the Denver Nuggets, especially if the LA Lakers don’t play James on Monday.
Where to Watch Nuggets vs Lakers?
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