Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers

Where: Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA

When: Wednesday, March 6th at 10:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, Altitude, and Spectrum Sportsnet | 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES and KKSE-FM 92.5

Denver Nuggets (Away)

Head Coach: Michael Malone {All-Time 200-214 | SAC, DEN}

The Denver Nuggets have been up and down as of late. Once in contention for the top spot in the Western Conference, the Nuggets are now 1.5 games back from the Warriors in first and are being tailed by the Oklahoma City Thunder who are only 3.5 games back from them.

Over their last ten games, the Denver Nuggets have posted a record of 5-5. Despite a five-game win streak against some of the weaker teams in the Western Conference and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Nuggets sandwiched that run with two separate losing streaks.

After losing to San Antonio on Monday, the Nuggets will try to rectify themselves when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are a struggling team that is filled with turmoil on and off the court. Considering they will take on the Warriors after this match for crucial placement implications, the Nuggets are sure to put their best effort in against LeBron James.

Los Angeles Lakers (Home)

Head Coach: Luke Walton {All-Time 91-136 | LAL}

The NBA season isn’t even over yet and the Los Angeles Lakers seem resigned to their fate. With a record of 30-33, the Lakers are 4.5 games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference and it seems they won’t be sniffing the post-season this year.

For all the drive and motivation that the Lakers allegedly have to make the playoffs, the squad hasn’t responded with its results. In their last ten matches, the Lakers are 3-7. Losing to weak teams in general, but pulling out impressive winning performances against the Pelicans, Rockets, and Celtics.

It all points to a lack of commitment and immaturity. Unfortunately, it all starts from the top for the Lakers. James’ has resigned himself to the fate of the season it seems and players are not responding. On the other side, they’ll be facing off with a Denver team that is fighting for something. The Lakers will have their hands full.

What’s At Stake?

Historically the Los Angeles Lakers have dominated this matchup. In 174 games all-time, the Los Angeles Lakers lead the Denver Nuggets 105-69.

A win for the Denver Nuggets places them within a game of the Golden State Warriors who are in first place.

A win for the Los Angeles Lakers would bring them to within 2 games of the Sacramento Kings who are in ninth place.

Questions to answer

Is the Nuggets “Death Lineup” ready?

Are the Lakers better off in the lottery?

We are going to compare the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Nuggets Are Healthy and Ready

It wasn’t long ago that one of the biggest steals of the NBA offseason was the Denver Nuggets’ acquisition of Paul Millsap in free agency. At the time one of the NBA’s premier power forwards, injuries have slowed his production but not eliminated his class.

Almost tragically, the Nuggets have rarely been able to start their most talented five of Murray – Harris – Barton – Millsap – Jokic for more than a couple games at a time. When one injury occurs another heals and vice versa. However now, the Nuggets seem primed to show off their wares.

With every one of their primary five healthy, the Nuggets seem primed to take over. Capable of offense and defense, the Nuggets aren’t weak at any position on the court when the five are together. Their length and athleticism on defense are excellent and their ability from range and in the paint challenges the best of the NBA. Already second in the West, the Nuggets may be set for another meteoric rise.

The Lakers Seem to be Out of the Race

Currently 4.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, with 19 games left in their season, it seems like all of the odds to make the playoffs are against the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Lakers intend on firing head coach Luke Walton at the end of the season, they’ve also backed off of rumored deals to bring in Carmelo Anthony and Marcin Gortat to shore up their line.

All signs point the to the Lakers preparing for an early off-season, the first of LeBron James’ career. The damage that it would do to his career aside, the Lakers may be better of this way. They can now focus on rebuilding the squad, with less risk of their players getting hurt from an extended run. Is it the showtime Magic Johnson wanted? No. But sacrifices need to be made for the future and the 2019 Playoffs seem to be it.

Denver Nuggets Roster Notes

F Trey Lyles – 3 Mar 2019 – Out (Left Hamstring Strain) – Lyles will not play in teams upcoming three-game road trip. The Nuggets are eyeing a March 12th return.

F Michael Porter – 13 Feb 2019 – Out (Back) – Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly has not ruled out a return this year for Porter Jr. according to Harrison Wind of BSN Denver.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

G Lonzo Ball – 28 Feb 2019 – Out (Left Ankle) – Ball will require more time to recover from a bone bruise that is related to his ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated in about a week according to Mike Trudell of Spectrum.

G Lance Stephenson – 2 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Toe) – Stephenson has been ruled OUT for Saturday’s (Mar 2) game.

Head-to-Head: Jamal Murray (DEN) vs Rajon Rondo (LAL)

Jamal Murray

Point Guard | 6-4, 207lb (193cm, 93kg) | Kentucky | Exp. 2 Years

18.2 PPG | 4.9 APG | 4.2 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 2.3 TOV | .430 FG% | .368 3P%

Rajon Rondo

Point Guard | 6-1, 186lb (185cm, 84kg) | Kentucky | Exp. 12 Years

8.7 PPG | 7.4 APG | 5.0 RPG | 1.0 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 2.7 TOV | .411 FG% | .373 3P%

It will be the matchup at the point guard position which will drive this match forward. With playmaking options abound for both teams, it is very likely that the more selfish point guard will make the biggest impact on the game. Jamal Murray is a lights-out shooter and Rajon Rondo is still one of the craftiest playmakers in the league. It will be an exciting matchup.

Jamal Murray is coming off of an absolute explosion offensively from a loss against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored 25 points in the game and very nearly brought it home for the Nuggets. While Jokic is the star of the Nuggets, Murray is their most capable scorer and needs to put the ball in the basket to contribute.

Rajon Rondo hasn’t been putting together some excellent performances as of late, but it doesn’t take away the fact that he is a capable playmaker and still an impressive defender at the point of attack. He may no longer fill up the stat sheet, but Rondo provides a calm and confidence the Lakers certainly need on both ends of the court. He will be responsible for Murray in this matchup, it is sure to be physical.

Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Predictions and Odds

The oddsmakers have the Denver Nuggets favored over the Los Angeles Lakers by 4.5, with an over/under of 109.