Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview
Where: Staples Center — Los Angeles, CA
When: Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:30 PM ET
Line: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers – view all NBA lines
TV Broadcast: ALT2 / TWSN
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Betting on the Denver Nuggets (21-25)
Denver has won three-straight games and seven of its last 10. This is mostly thanks to Nikola Jokic, who’s been one of the biggest revelations this season.
The 6-foot-10 center from Serbia is averaging career-highs of 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, not to mention a remarkable month of January where Jokic is posted double-double numbers (23.9 points, 11.1 rebounds).
Unfortunately, his services won’t be available for the second-straight game as he continues to recover from a strained hip. That leaves the Nuggets’ interior defense vulnerable to easy penetrations once again. They allowed 54 points in the paint during the 123-112 win against Phoenix on Saturday night.
Despite that, the Denver offense has amassed more than enough points to get wins. Veterans Jameer Nelson and Danilo Gallinari have been solid in the team’s three-game run, averaging nearly 40 points combined, including 7.3 assists from the former alone.
The Nuggets have won the previous seven road games against the Lakers, including a 127-121 victory on Jan. 17.
Betting on the Los Angeles Lakers (16-34)
The present state of the Lakers is a mess, but there’s no denying that their future is bright. Since surprising many with a 10-10 start to the season, they’ve only managed six wins throughout 24 games. They currently have the third-worst record overall.
There have been silver linings, though. The most recent—and promising—of which is the gradual ascent of Ivica Zubac. The Croatian rook registered double-doubles in his last two games, and also had his very first one (11 points, 13 boards) just last month against the Nuggets.
It’s been fun seeing Zubac and the rest of the Lakers’ young core grow develop despite the ugly results and injury bumps. Still, they can’t start winning games on a consistent basis as long as they continue to give away points, squander double-digit leads and rely too much on their leading scorer Lou Williams (18.2 PPG) for buckets.
Los Angeles, which ranks 29th overall in defensive efficiency, has dropped its last three games (2-1 ATS). The Lakers won’t have Julius Randle (pneumonia) here, but D’Angelo Russell is expected to return after a four-game absence.
The Lakers play better at home, so I see them winning against a Jokic-less Nuggets.
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