Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Game 3 Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Anthony Davis’ Game 2 buzzer-beater gave the Lakers a 2-0 lead over the Denver Nuggets.
- Despite winning the second half, the Nuggets weren’t able to stave off the Lakers.
- Anthony Davis leads all scorers with 34.0 points per game.
Lakers vs Nuggets Odds
|Team||Point Spread||Total||Money Line|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-6.5 -110||O 214.5 -112||-265|
|Denver Nuggets||+6.5 -110||U 214.5 -109||+215|
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Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Predictions and Picks
The Los Angeles Lakers may have won Game 2, but it was by the skin of their teeth. Denver’s ability to run with the Lakers is apparent, while their scoring and defensive prowess suggest Game 3 is certainly within their reach.
How to Watch Lakers vs Nuggets
|Lakers vs Nuggets Information|
|What||Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL|
|When||Tuesday, September 22, 2020; 9:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch/Listen||TNT|
Head-to-Head: Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets
|Los Angeles Lakers||Head-to-Head||Denver Nuggets|
|Frank Vogel||Head Coach||Mike Malone|
|52-19 (1st in West, 3rd Overall)||Standing||46-27 (3rd in West, 6th Overall)|
|112.0 (11th of 30)||Off Rtg||113.1 (5th of 30)|
|106.3 (3rd of 30)||Def Rtg||111.0 (16th of 30)|
|100.9 (11th of 30)||Pace||97.1 (29th of 30)|
Playoff Leaders (Per Game)
|A. Davis (28.7)||PPG||J. Murray (26.6)|
|A. Davis (10.7)||RPG||N. Jokic (10.2)|
|L. James (8.7)||APG||J. Murray (6.1)|
|R. Rondo (1.9)||SPG||G. Harris (1.4)|
|A. Davis (1.4)||BPG||T-Grant, Jokic (0.9)|
|D. Howard (.639)/A. Davis (10.2)||FG%/FGM||B. Bol (.556)/J. Murray (9.8)|
|Q. Cook (.500)/K. Caldwell-Pope (2.3)||3P%/3PM||B. Bol (.667)/J. Murray (3.6)|
The Lakers Must Be Aggressive
The Lakers have been a poor shooting team to this point in the NBA Playoffs. While surrounded by capable shooters like Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles has slowly grown out of feeding their “snipers”. Instead, Los Angeles has attacked the rim to much success.
In-Game 2 against the Nuggets, the Lakers were nowhere near as aggressive as usual. The Lakers average just over 38% of their shots at the rim, but in Game 2 against the Nuggets, they attempted only 26% shots at the rim. Los Angeles‘ willingness to settle, kept the Nuggets in the game.
Sure, the Los Angeles Lakers won the match in exciting fashion in Game 2. That doesn’t dispel the fact that the strongest team in the West lost the second half and were down one with three seconds on the clock. To take Game 3, the Lakers can’t afford to be complacent.
Denver Can’t Win With Just Three Scorers
The combination of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray has been giving teams fits throughout the NBA season and well into these 2020 Playoffs. While they came up short in Game 2, the Nuggets star duo combined for 55 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds, and six steals. Add Michael Porter Jr. who had 15 points and four rebounds and the Nuggets have a troublesome threesome for opponents.
Unfortunately for the Nuggets, their trio of scorers accounted for 67.9% of the teams’ total points in Game 2. Their next highest scorer was Monte Morris who scored nine off the bench.
In order for Denver to compete, they need to have more contributors off the bench. It’s nice for Mike Malone to lean on Murray and Jokic in a tough situation, but they need support if they hope to go a full 48 minutes with the Lakers.
Lakers Key Player: (G) Danny Green
Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green has been rather infamous for his poor shooting in the bubble. He did no better in Game 2, finishing the night with 11 points on 4-14 shooting from the field and 3-10 shooting from three. On the bright side, Green was a team-leading +10 on the night due to his defensive and intangible efforts.
Despite his poor shooting, Green contributed five rebounds, three steals, an assist, and a block in the Lakers’ winning effort. While there are times where it feels like Los Angeles is playing 4-on-5 on offense, Green remains dependable on the defensive side.
Game 3 will be a battle for the Lakers and Green will be relied on to slow down the pace of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. The Nuggets guards run off of multiple screens on most plays, leaving Green to switch on to them frequently. If he can do his part to slow down the Nuggets’ backcourt, the Lakers have a good chance of going up 3-0.
Nuggets Key Player: (F) Paul Millsap
If the Nuggets want to stay in the game early against the Lakers they will need more out of the veteran forward Paul Millsap. While the Nuggets starting power forward hasn’t been much of a scorer this post-season, his defense is always welcome.
Millsap is always active on the defensive side of the ball. While not recording a block or steal in Game 2, Millsap is a willing switcher on screens and is more than ready to defend the rim.
His 2-6 night from the field in Game 2 is nothing to be proud of. While Murray and Jokic put on brilliant showings, Millsap’s inefficiency drains them during the few bailout situations needed. If Mike Malone can optimize Millsap’s opportunities, the Nuggets will be a dangerous side.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.