Two Western Conference powerhouse teams square off in Orlando, FL on Monday as the Nuggets and Lakers are set to do battle.
Denver played its first four games with Monte Morris starting at point guard, before finally getting Jamal Murray back for their showdown with Utah. And playing for the first time since March, Murray comes through with a huge performance, making several clutch baskets.
The Nuggets are being led not only by Nikola Jokic but rookie Michael Porter Jr. He has turned up his level of play in an incredible way in Orlando, and he’ll hope to now continue his dominance against a fantastic Lakers defense.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have been a bit disappointing within the bubble. They have lost several winnable games, including a recent one to the Pacers. Anthony Davis scored fewer than 10 points for the second time in five games, a sign that something might be up.
We’ll see what their bench rotation look like today, as we saw the likes of Talen Horton-Tucker and Jared Dudley getting most of the minutes last time out.
The Lakers are 5.5-point favorites with the over/under set at 221.
Nuggets Trying to Sneak into #2?
With the Clippers falling to the Nets last night, an opportunity is now knocking for the Nuggets. They are still within striking distance of that #2 seed, and a win tonight could go a long way in their quest to pull it off. They would match up with the Dallas Mavericks if they wound up in that spot.
Nikola Jokic will have his hands full with Anthony Davis, but he’s had dominant performances against all of the league’s best bigs in the past. And Michael Porter Jr. is going to look to continue his dominant level of play as well. These guys and Jamal Murray will dictate whether or not the team is successful.
And Jerami Grant & Monte Morris off the bench will need to bring the energy. Both guys have played incredible basketball in Orlando to date and will try to keep it going.
Lakers Looking for Their Rhythm
LeBron and AD haven’t been able to play well in the same game in Orlando, and it has been troubling to see. One of them turns it up, and somehow the other just manages to struggle all game long. That will need to change if they want a win.
Denver has been slept on all season, and the Lakers cannot afford to slip up. Given how well the teams battling for the #8 seed in the conference have played, the eventual first-round matchup will be no cakewalk. If they don’t discover their rhythm and turn up their play soon, their season will end in disaster.
They are bristling with superstar talent and have good bench scoring now. Can they put it all together?
Nuggets Secure a W
Sorry Lakers, but this is the day of the Denver Nuggets. They’ll win this one as underdogs.
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