The Denver Nuggets are once again on national TV playing the Los Angeles Lakers. In the third, and final, rematch of the season between last year’s Western Conference finalists the Nuggets will try to complete the season sweep. The Lakers meanwhile are in a dog fight to make the playoffs. Currently sitting in the tenth seed, the chances of avoiding the play-in altogether may be slipping through the Lakers grasp with them trailing the sixth seeded New Orleans Pelicans by three games, but the opportunity to have at least one home game in the play-in is still very much within reach. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Nuggets continue to be right in the thick of the battle for the top seed in the west.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (41-19) vs Los Angeles Lakers (33-28)

When: 6:30PM MST

Where: Reddit bro investment center arena. Los Angeles, CA.

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. ABC. Altitude TV where available (Altitude TV is available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and Fubo TV). NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5. Show up in a Lakers jersey with James on the back but not number 23 on the front and claim you are LeBron’s son, here for your free roster spot.

Rival blog: Silver Screen and Roll

The Matchup

Nuggets Lakers Advantage
Reggie Jackson D’Angelo Russel Lakers
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Austin Reaves Even
Michael Porter Jr. LeBron James Lakers
Aaron Gordon Rui Hachimura Nuggets
Nikola Jokic Anthony Davis Nuggets
Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Zeke Nnaji, Colin Gillespie Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, Jaxon Hayes, Max Christie, Cam Reddish Even


Injury Report: Jamal Murray – questionable (ankle), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – questionable (personal), Braxton Key – out (personal), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee); Anthony Davis – probable (achilles), Cam Reddish – probable (ankle), LeBron James – questionable (ankle), Colin Castleton – out (wrist), Jarred Vanderbilt – out (foot), Gabe Vincent – out (knee), Christian Wood – out (knee), Maxwell Lewis – out (G-League), Jalen Hood-Schifino – out (G-League).

The Three Things

The Thing to watch for: bench vs bench

We know what the Nuggets can do against the Lakers starters, but the bench is where L.A. may be able to gain some headway. The Nuggets typically stagger Jamal Murray with the bench but with Jamal questionable with his ankle sprain he may not play. If that happens I expect Malone to not alter the premise of his rotation and instead will have Reggie Jackson stagger with the bench. That approach has not returned great results in the past. The Nuggets will need someone from that reserve unit to step up tonight regardless if Jamal plays, but if he doesn’t then getting solid contributions from the reserves will be a must to gain the victory

The thing to remember: Nuggets can spoil L.A.’s night once again

The Lakers opening night was a loss at the hand of the Nuggets, the Kobe Bryant statue unveiling night was a loss at the hands of the Nuggets. Tonight, LeBron James will become the first NBA player to eclipse 40,000 points if he plays, and the Nuggets can once again make sure a big night in L.A. is punctuated with a Lakers loss. LeBron needs just nine points to hit the 40k mark so its reasonable to assume he’ll do it fairly early in the game. It’ll be on L.A. to maintain their focus on winning the actual game after LBJ hits the mark because as we have seen time and again, it takes a full 48 minute effort from the Lakers to have any chance of beating Denver.

The thing to bet: Michael Porter Jr. over 2.5 threes (-125)

Jamal may or may not play but even if he does, MPJ is playing great right now. He’s been on a tear ever since the All Star break which is probably why the over/under on his threes is -125. If Jamal doesn’t play then this bet will really just come down to how Mike is shooting. Whether it’s LeBron or Rui Hachimura defending him, Mike will have the height advantage and I expect him to look to score often.

Stiffs Night Out

SNO is tonight! Head down to Number Thirty-Eight in Rino to watch the game with all the Stiffs. We will be doing giveaways throughout the night and a live postgame podcast with myself, Ryan Blackburn and Swipa Cam. The game starts at 6:30 but seating will be first come, first serve so make sure to get there a bit early! I hope to see everyone tonight, make sure to come introduce yourself!