Lakers vs. Nuggets preview: Can Denver stop Kobe Bryant, Lakers

US PRESSWIRE

The very odd Los Angeles to Denver back to back to play the Clippers and Lakers will end tonight at the Pepsi Center with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Dwight Howard in town. Oh and don't forget about Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace.

2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 30
Los Angeles Lakers (2002 - Pres)

vs
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14-14 (5-8 on the road)

15-14 (8-1 at home)
December 26, 2012 - 7:00 PM (MT)
Pepsi Center - Denver, Colorado
TV Altitude / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Steve Nash PG Ty Lawson
Darius Morris SG Andre Iguodala
Kobe Bryant SF Danilo Gallinari
Pau Gasol PF Kenneth Faried
Dwight Howard C Kosta Koufos
Notes
Silver Screen and Roll Blogs You're here.
Steve Blake is out, Jordan Hill is probable Injuries Wilson Chandler, Julyan Stone (out)
Riding a five game win streak Stat Since Portland the Nuggets are 9-33 from downtown; that's only a 27.2% rate from deep.

Don't look now NBA fans, but the Lakers are starting to roll. Currently riding a five-game win streak, the Lakers are back to a .500 record and starting to get some structure in their offense (and perhaps playing a little better or at least meaner defense).

Steve Nash has been back for two of L.A.'s most recent and impressive wins over the Warriors (in overtime) and yesterday against the Knicks. Nash put up 12 points and 9 assists in 41 minutes against Golden State and yesterday he played 38 minutes, shot 7-12 which was good for 16 points, and he handed out 11 assists.

The five game win streak has come right after a four-game losing streak - so like the Nuggets - you never quite know which Lakers team is going to show up. Having Nash back hasn't cured all L.A.'s problems, but it must be nice to put the ball in a trust worthy point guard's hands and let him go to work. No longer is Chris Duhon counted on to make the Lakers offense tick.

But we all know that this team goes how Kobe Bryant dictates that it goes. Against the Warriors he took 41 shots - that was good for 38% of all the Lakers field goal attempts (107 team shots) and against the Knicks he attempted 24 of the team's 77 shots - good for 31% of the total offense. Placing the ball in Bryant's hands is rarely a bad idea.

How much Kobe's teammates get involved tonight will likely determine the outcome of the game. Pau Gasol is looking better and had the game clinching dunk against the Knicks yesterday:

It's always fun to watch Kenneth Faried battle Gasol as the pair has had very different outcomes game to game. Can Faried render the new stretch four irrelevant tonight? Can Gasol run up and down with Faried and stop him on the glass?

The Nuggets must find their groove at home tonight if they want to give the Lakers a little payback for that 122-103 beat-down L.A. put on Denver at the Staples Center back on Nov. 30th.

Views you can use:

-The Nuggets are now 0-2 at the Staples Center this season - losing badly to both the Lakers and Clippers.

-Antawn Jamison hasn't played one minute for the Lakers in their last three games - he put up 33 points on the Nuggets in the first match-up -- will Mike D'Antonio use him tonight?

-The Lakers shot 54% from the floor against Denver in the first game and they made an incredible 17-33 (51.5%) threes against the Nuggets as well.

***

Denver Nuggets Tickets

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