NBA Handicapping Predictions – Nuggets vs Lakers
The Lakers controlled Game One of this series from the early minutes of the game. Denver shot only 35% from the floor, while the Lakers shot 50%. Andrew Bynum had a rare triple-double involving blocked shots.
NBA Basketball Matchup: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
10:30 PM EST on TNT
NBA Gambling Odds from Bovada
NBA Betting Favorite: Lakers -5
Bynum went for 10 points, 13 boards, and 10 blocks in the series opener.
Can the Nuggets bounce back and even up the series or will the Lakers put Denver in a 2-0 hole?
Denver struggled badly with the Lakers interior defense in Game One. The Lakers blocked 15 shots and altered several others during the course of the first game. Danilo Gallinari led the team with 19 points in Game One.
It was nice to see Gallinari get on track, but the Nuggets need bigger outputs from the backcourt. The backcourt combined to shoot 6 for 22 from the floor Sunday. Denver’s edge in this matchup should be in the backcourt, so they need guys like Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo to have big games.
Denver absolutely has to push the pace in the game as well, because they don’t want to allow the Lakers defense to get set. The Nuggets led the NBA in scoring at 104.1 points per game during the regular season.
The Lakers had a surprisingly easy time with the Nuggets in Game One, but they know Denver has the potential to give them a difficult series. Kobe Bryant appears to be pretty healthy, and he led the team with 31 points in their comfortable win on Sunday. Bynum was an overall beast, and he was the player of the game.
Jordan Hill and Devin Ebanks both surprised with big games as well. If the Lakers can continue to get big performances from role players, they will be much more difficult to defeat.
Los Angeles is one of the best rebounding teams in the league, and they should have the advantage on the glass throughout this series.
The Lakers are a veteran team that knows how to take care of business. Denver is a feisty team, but I don’t like that they don’t have any clear team leaders. I like the Lakers to take control of the series here.
Prediction: Lakers 102 Nuggets 94