Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers: Match Preview and Predictions - 22nd December 2019
Fixture: Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers
Date & Time: Sunday, 22 December 2019 (9:30 PM ET)
Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Last Game Results
Denver Nuggets (19-8): 109-100 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves (20 December, Friday)
Los Angeles Lakers (24-5): 104-111 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks (19 December, Thursday)
Denver Nuggets Preview
The Denver Nuggets are now on a five-game winning streak after their most recent win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They are currently second in the West and are four games away from the top seed.
The Nuggets have been known for their impressive offense in the past few years, but their defense often seems surrounded by question marks come playoff time. In the 2016-2017 season they were second to last in defensive rating, but last year they improved to Top 10.
Now, they are currently 8th in defense, and this game should test how they'd fare against teams they might be facing in the playoffs
Key Player - Nikola Jokić
Nikola Jokic had a slow start to the season but has been returning to form in the past weeks. He'll be key to this game if they want to defeat the Lakers, as they'll be matched up against the bigger lineup of the LA team.
The Nuggets may be 8th in overall defense, but they are 17th in interior defense. The Joker needs to step up his defensive game ten-fold if the team wants to contain Davis and LeBron.
Jokić should also look to make the right plays to get the shooters around him going. Gary Harris and Will Barton only scored 11 and 13 in their last game, and Jokić should look to attract defenders to free them up come Sunday.
He should also be aggressive in attacking the rim and drawing some fouls against AD, in order to make him worry about getting into foul trouble.
Nuggets Predicted Lineup
Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton III, Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokić
Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The Lakers have exceeded expectations with their impressive start to this season. Analysts have ranked them as contenders because of the talent in the roster, but their defense and chemistry have been really surprising this year.
They lost back-to-back for the first time this season after being overwhelmed by Giannis and the Bucks last game. The loss also exposed some flaws in the LA team that they got away with in the past close games they had.
The Lakers need consistent playmakers rather than relying on LeBron and AD to create their own shot. Their bench also needs to step up after their measly four-point contribution.
These are just some of the things that the Lakers need to address, as they could be exploited by contending teams in the league.
Key Player - Anthony Davis
Davis will be important in this game as he'll be matched up against the not-so-impressive interior defense of the Nuggets. He would need to be aggressive as he'll most likely be matched up against the smaller Paul Millsap and the less athletic Jokić when the Joker's in the PF position. He would try to draw defenders and make the right plays to keep his teammates going.
The 6'10 forward should also look to contain center and playmaker Jokić so as to restrict the Nuggets' offense. He'll have to defend the Joker well when he tries to get to the rim, and keep the other Nuggets from driving inside.
Lakers Predicted Lineup
LeBron James, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee
Nuggets vs Lakers Match Prediction
This should be an interesting contest, with Denver's offense and deep bench pitted against the Lakers' defense and talent. The Lakers should have a slight edge though, especially with an extra day of rest and the home court advantage.
However, if the Lakers' careless mistakes get exploited by Denver, the Nuggets could well steal a close win.
Where to Watch Lakers vs Nuggets?
The game will be broadcasted nationally on NBA TV. It will also be available on Altitude and Spectrum SportsNet. You can also stream it live via NBA League Pass.
Published 22 Dec 2019, 02:17 IST