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Preview: Nuggets look to end Lakers winning streak

The Nuggets will face off against another team that is riding a long winning streak, with the Lakers continuing to play like the best team in the league.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Nuggets will look to extend their two-game winning streak as they play host to the Lakers Sunday night, in a national broadcast nightcap.

The Lakers are on a seven-game winning streak, and are perfect during the month of February so far. That includes a 114-93 win over the Nuggets, a game where Denver was able to take a lead into halftime, but saw LeBron James and his teammates steamroll them in the second half. James’ postgame comments?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if the Nuggets only score 35 points in the second half again, they’re going to have a really hard time winning this game.

The Basics

Who: Los Angeles Lakers (21-6) vs Denver Nuggets (14-11)

When: 8:00 PM MT

Where: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado

How to Watch: ESPN

Rival Blog: Silver Screen and Roll

Potential Matchups

Projected Matchups

PG Jamal Murray Dennis Schroeder Even
SG Will Barton Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Even
SF Michael Porter Jr. LeBron James Lakers
PF Paul Millsap Anthony Davis Lakers
C Nikola Jokic Marc Gasol Nuggets
BENCH Monté Morris, Facu Campazzo, RJ Hampton, JaMychal Green, Zeke Nnaji Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthew Jr., Alex Caruso Lakers

Injury Report: Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Alex Caruso (day-to-day); Will Barton, Jamal Murray (day-to-day); PJ Dozier, Gary Harris (out)

Three Things to Watch

Will Anthony Davis play? The Lakers All-Star power forward is questionable for tonight’s game, but did just play 35 minutes against the Grizzlies two days ago. With him available, that gives the Lakers an elite rim protector, and someone that can potentially slow down Nikola Jokic for the Nuggets. Without Davis, the Lakers are left playing Marc Gasol, who is only playing limited minutes for them, and Montrezl Harrell, who is a page in Jokic’s cookbook at this point due to how well Jokic roasts him every time they face off.

Can the Nuggets hit 3-pointers? The reality of the 2020-21 Nuggets is that they need to hit over 13 3-pointers in a game in order to feel confident they can pull off a win. They are 5-5 when they have 13 made 3-point shots or fewer, and 9-6 when they make more than 13 3-point shots. With Gary Harris and PJ Dozier out, the Nuggets, who are already undersized on the wing, flat out don’t have the depth to try to corral a big wing like LeBron James. That means it’ll be Layup City out there for the Lakers, so they have to counter by putting up a 3 on the scoreboard. They need Jokic, Murray, and MPJ to all have a big night from behind the 3-point line.

Controlling the defensive glass. The Lakers aren’t a great offensive rebounding team, but if their bench lineups are able to regain possession after a missed shot, that’s going to kill the Nuggets. They have seen RJ Hampton put up some good rebounding numbers while he’s received more playing time, and they’re going to need to really do an outstanding job there to help trigger fastbreak opportunities so they can get easy buckets against a team that has the top defensive rating in the league.


Los Angeles Lakers 112 - Denver Nuggets 99


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