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Preview: Nuggets look to right road woes against Kobe and the Lakers

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The Nuggets travel to play the Lakers in what will be Kobe Bryant's final game against the Nuggets of his career. Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic look to send him off with another defeat.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Have you heard the news about Kobe Bryant? He's retiring from the NBA.

In a letter published on The Players Tribune, Kobe announced that this season was going to be his last, and ever since, it's been one long marketing promotion farewell tour as he has traveled across the country with the Lakers.

Kobe started on March 2 in Denver, but only played 10:50 before sitting with an aggravated shoulder injury. Fans chanted for him to return, but it didn't matter, because he wasn't going to, and the Lakers did what they've done best this season and lost, 117-107.

I respect Kobe for all he's accomplished in the league, but I really hope the Nuggets take care of business and thoroughly defeat the Lakers tonight. Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic are all playing well lately, and winning a road game in Los Angeles, a city famous for mysteriously causing players to be ill, would be a sweet victory to remember in the offseason.

Hopefully Michael Malone and his players will be up to the challenge.

DENVER, CO - MARCH 2: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers acknowledges the crowd during introductions before his last NBA game in Denver. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado on March 2, 2016. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO - MARCH 2: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers acknowledges the crowd during introductions before his last NBA game in Denver. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado on March 2, 2016. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets (30-42) vs Los Angeles Lakers (15-56)
When: 8:30 PM MT
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Where to watch: Altitude
Rival Blog:
Silver Screen & Roll

Denver Nuggets Los Angeles Lakers
Advantage
PG Emmanuel Mudiay D'Angelo Russell Nuggets
SG Gary Harris Jordan Clarkson Lakers
SF JaKarr Sampson Kobe Bryant Lakers
PF Darrell Arthur Julius Randle Nuggets
C Nikola Jokic Roy Hibbert Nuggets
Bench

Will Barton, D.J. Augustin, Joffrey Lauvergne, Jusuf Nurkic, Mike Miller

Brandon Bass, Lou Williams, Metta World Peace, Larry Nance Jr., Marcelo Huertas, Nick Young, Robert Sacre, Tarik Black Nuggets

Injured players: Danilo Gallinari, ankle (out), Wilson Chandler, hip (out), Jameer Nelson, wrist (out), Kenneth Faried, back (questionable), Jusuf Nurkic, illness (probable), Anthony Brown, foot (out), Ryan Kelly, wrist (questionable), Kobe Bryant, probable (shoulder)

Three thoughts

The Nuggets sure could use Faried tonight. With Nurkic struggling with an illness, the Nuggets big man rotation is down to 3.5 men. Joffrey Lauvergne was planted on the bench after four disastrous minutes against Philadelphia, but one bad game does not immediately send Kilometers Plumlee into the doghouse.

But if Faried is healthy, he could have a heyday on the offensive glass. The Lakers give up 11 offensive boards per game, one of the worst marks in the league. With inexperienced players like Julius Randle and Larry Nance, and a smaller than normal option in Brandon Bass, the Manimal could easily get a double-double and help the Nuggets to a win.

Defense, defense, defense. The Lakers have one of the worst offenses in the league, with an offensive rating of 102.4, good for 28th out of 30. They are last in the league in assists per game, averaging a mere 18.2 per game. They have talented isolation scorers in Clarkson, Randle, and of course, Kobe, but defenses today should know how to effectively counter isolation plays. Players are still going to make contested shots, but if the Nuggets can stay in front of their man, slow down penetration, and funnel shot attempts into Nurkic when he's on the court, they should be able to win their seventh consecutive road game against the Lakers.

The Lakers off-court issues. In case you missed it, a woman, Alexis Jones, claimed that four men sexually harassed her and her mother while stopped at an intersection while driving. Two of the men in the vehicle that participated were identified in her Instagram post as Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young.

Ms. Jones is the author of the book "I Am That Girl" and the founder of ProtectHer, and is an advocate that works with collegiate and professional athletes to curb sexual assault and domestic violence.

I pray these pics go viral because THIS is the problem with little boys. Five minutes ago, at the intersection of Melrose and La Bre here in LA, a jeep of four boys pulled up at a red light and started yelling and making the most disgustingly vulgar gestures at my mom and me. I rarely "rant" about things but this is the f%+#ing problem and the reason I've now dedicated my life to educating young men about respect, not just for women but for everyone. I'm angry. I'm insulted. I'm hurt. They were laughing hysterically until they realized I was filming them and immediately they panicked like the cowards they are. Thank you to all the real men out there who would never treat a mother and daughter that way... Speaking of, I'd love for this to make it back to their mothers!!! Help me find who these guys are!!! Let's see the power of social media and hold them accountable. I'd LOVE to have a candid conversation with them about sexual harassment not simply to shame them, but to understand their mentality so we can better educate young men to be respectful in the future. #littleboys #cowards #realmenrespectwomen #messedwiththewrongchick #wewillfindyou @iamthatgirl

A photo posted by Alexis Jones (@missalexisjones) on

The Lakers investigated the claim, and released the following statement.

We've looked into the situation and spoken to Alexis Jones as well as to Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson. Based on these conversations, our conclusion is that there are different interpretations of what happened. We support Nick and Jordan and believe what they told us about the incidents and their actions. We also are supportive of Alexis and her feelings about what happened, about women's rights, and of the fine work Alexis is doing with her organization. I had several conversations with Alexis and her publicist, and tried to arrange a meeting between her, Nick and Jordan. Unfortunately, Alexis's schedule didn't allow for this to happen yesterday. We will also continue to stay in touch with her about the possibility of addressing our team about the important issues with which she's involved.

It's a difficult situation for the Lakers to navigate. There are two sides to the story, and it looks like the full description of what occurred won't be available to the public unless Ms. Jones decides to press charges over the incident. Keep in mind that Young and Clarkson have not yet been found guilty of committing a crime, and as such, deserve to be treated as innocent.

I do know that there is a lesson to be learned here however - men, don't be dumb. Treat women with respect, no matter the situation. My father was an excellent example for me on how to treat women, and honored my mother for all the things she did, both as a spouse and as a provider to his children. My mother taught me to respect her, and I knew what was coming if I didn't. She was raised on a farm, and she had that country strong to remind me how to act.

Another lesson? Never tweet.

Prediction: Nuggets 108-Lakers 99