It was a dominant offensive performance by the Denver Nuggets in their 141-128 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Ball Arena. The Nuggets defense struggled — to say the least — but Denver’s offense carried them to their third consecutive victory, which is a number they’ll look to stretch to four tonight in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

Denver and Los Angeles have already squared off twice this season with the Nuggets winning the first game at home, while the Lakers won the last one in LA. The teams will square off one more time in January, but Denver will look to gain an edge in the season series tonight’s nationally televised contest.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (17-10, 9-7 away) @ Los Angeles Lakers (11-16, 6-7 home)

When: 8:00 p.m. MST

Where: Staples Center

How to watch/listen: ESPN. AltitudeTV where available. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Silver Screen and Roll

Expected Starting Lineups:

LAL: PG Dennis Schroder, SG Patrick Beverley, SF Lonnie Walker IV, PF LeBron James, C Anthony Davis

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Bruce Brown, PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Collin Gillespie (leg) OUT, Michael Porter Jr. (heel) OUT, Juan Toscano-Anderson (right ankle sprain) OUT, Wenyen Gabriel (shoulder) OUT

What to watch for

The biggest thing I’ll be keeping my eye on is how the Nuggets play defensively. After every game the Nuggets present a defensive player of the game chain to someone who excelled on that end of the floor, but in Denver’s last game against Washington nobody was awarded the chain.

That’s because the Nuggets gave up 128 points and even though they escaped with the victory it took some pretty phenomenal offense to archive that. The Nuggets now have the third worst defensive rating in the entire NBA and trail only the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons in that department.

For a team that — on paper — got better on the defensive end of the floor this offseason with the additions of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown, we still haven’t seen that translate to the court. The Nuggets are not going to get very far in the playoffs if they have to rely on scoring 130+ points a game.

It’s just not a recipe for success and even though Denver currently has the second best offense in the NBA that’s a lot of pressure to put on one aspect of your team, while the other element is underperforming at such a high level.

Let’s hope the Nuggets bring their defensive energy to the game tonight and can score enough points to steal a victory on a Friday night in Los Angeles on national television.

The Nuggets will tip off against Lakers at 8PM MST tonight on ESPN. All nationally televised NBA games can be watched on Sling TV.