Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Game 1 Predictions, Odds & Picks
- After overcoming another 1-3 series deficit, the Denver Nuggets reach their first Conference Final since 1985.
- The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Houston Rockets in five games to reach their first Conference Final since their championship winning 2010 run.
- Anthony Davis leads all scorers with 27.6 points per game.
Nuggets vs Lakers Odds
|Team||Point Spread||Total||Money Line|
|Denver Nuggets||+7 -110||O 212 -112||+250|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-7 -110||U 212 -109||-305|
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Nuggets vs Lakers Predictions and Picks
The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled to win a Game 1 in the 2020 Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Nuggets have been notoriously slow starters. Expect the fresher Lakers to tale Game 1.
Los Angeles Lakers def. Denver Nuggets -305
Los Angeles -7 -110
Over 212 -112
How to Watch Nuggets vs Lakers
|Nuggets vs Lakers Information|
|What||Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL|
|When||Friday, September 18th, 2020; 9:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch/Listen||TNT|
Head-to-Head: Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers
|Denver Nuggets||Head-to-Head||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Mike Malone||Head Coach||Frank Vogel|
|46-27 (3rd in West, 6th Overall)||Standing||52-19 (1st in West, 3rd Overall)|
|113.1 (5th of 30)||Off Rtg||112.0 (11th of 30)|
|111.0 (16th of 30)||Def Rtg||106.3 (3rd of 30)|
|97.1 (29th of 30)||Pace||100.9 (11th of 30)|
Playoff Leaders (Per Game)
|J. Murray (27.1)||PPG||A. Davis (27.6)|
|N. Jokic (10.8)||RPG||A. Davis (10.9)|
|J. Murray (6.4)||APG||L. James (8.8)|
|G. Harris (1.7)||SPG||R. Rondo (2.0)|
|J. Grant (1.0)||BPG||A. Davis (1.5)|
|N. Jokic (.515)/J. Murray (10.1)||FG%/FGM||J. McGee (.680)/A. Davis (9.9)|
|B. Bol (.667)/J. Murray (3.8)||3P%/3PM||Q. Cook (.500)/L. James (2.3)|
Denver’s Teamwork Drives Them
The Nuggets have been able to overcome some absolute stars to this point in the NBA Playoffs. Scoring ace Donovan Mitchell and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert couldn’t contain them in the first round. Then star pair Kawhi Leonard and Paul George failed when the opportunity was at hand.
The Nuggets have a heart, which helped them overcome two 1-3 deficits. But even more than heart they have offensive threats at every position, defensive continuity, and an adept coach guiding them.
Denver’s ability to break down any defense before them comes from star pair Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Reversing traditional roles, Jokic is a playmaker while Murray works for opportunities. Combine that with an all-hustle bench unit that can both finish and hit three-point shots and you’ve got a Denver Nuggets team that looks like championship contenders.
Can the Lakers Big Men Make a Difference?
During the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers found success in a unique way. While most teams went small and increased the pace, the Lakers tended to go big. Bigger than most teams could handle. They’ll be back in their element against the Nuggets.
In their last series against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers were forced to match speed. That left usual pivot men Javale McGee and Dwight Howard combining for just 16.3 minutes per game.
Their services will be needed in order to contain the dominance of Nikola Jokic. While Jokic excels from everywhere on the court, the length of McGee and Howard on top of their athleticism finishing will add a dimension to the Lakers’ game not seen in their last series.
Nuggets Key Player: (C) Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic continues to defy the NBA’s standards and has made an impact as a plodding yet methodical center in today’s up-tempo NBA. After leading his team through the first two rounds, Jokic faces his toughest matchups yet.
Jokic has been punishing opposing teams’ big men throughout the playoffs and there’s no reason to assume that he’ll slow down now.
Jokic’s dominance in the paint (50.5% FG%) and on the perimeter (44.0% 3P%) has ruined opposing game plans. Add to that that six assists per game to show that he can handle additional pressure and you may be looking at the best center in the league.
Lakers Key Player: (F) Anthony Davis
It is no secret that Anthony Davis is one of the most able players on either end of the court. Davis has led his Lakers team in scoring, while also anchoring their defensive efforts.
Davis will need to challenge Jokic in the paint and on the perimeter, something the Clippers were unable to do. While he won’t likely be able to handle his check in the post, Davis’ athleticism can make up for his physical shortcomings.
An engaged Davis early is crucial to the Lakers’ success. Expect a big night from him, with a more perimeter-oriented effort.
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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.