Denver Nuggets (53-29) at Los Angeles Lakers (43-39)
Game Info: Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 8:30 p.m. EST (crypto.com Arena)
Betting Odds: Lakers (-5.5) / Over/Under (222.5)
Pick: Lakers (-5.5)
Saturday night brings us a crucial Game 3 between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers inside crypto.com Arena, with the Nuggets looking to all but knock the Lakers out of the Playoffs.
The Nuggets seem to get no respect from the media, but it does not seem to matter at the moment as they have kept plugging along throughout the Playoffs. Now leading 2-0 heading into L.A., they have the chance to take a commanding 3-0 lead, which would surely be insurmountable for the Lakers to overcome, even with LeBron James on their side. Head Coach Mike Malone and Jamal Murray seemed bothered in their postgame press conferences, mentioning how even when they win, it seems as though the reporters and news analysts are twisting the narrative in the way of the other team, but as long as they are able to use that fuel to burn throughout the team in a positive way, it seems like something that can benefit them if they are to go all the way to the NBA Finals. As tipoff comes upon us, we shall see if the Lakers have any answer for Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in the pick & roll.
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Los Angeles is in a surefire must-win spot coming into Saturday's game. Even though they showed glimpses of brilliance in the first 2 games of the series in Denver, ultimately, it does not matter being that they were not able to steal 1 of them on the road. Looking at the first 2 losses that they took, their role players showing up has not been the problem one bit, as Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura have led the way tremendously for the Lakers in times when James and Davis have not been their best. But, if the Lakers are to overcome this 0-2 deficit, LeBron James is going to have to be LeBron James. Over the first 80 minutes of action that he was apart of in the first two showings, he is 0-10 from the 3-point line. I am a big believer that the Nuggets are baiting him to shoot 3's as this is not his strong suit and that he should be driving to the lane more often... but at the same time, he is a different player than he was 10 years ago, and he knows his body and what he can handle better than anyone else can. Can the Lakers deliver in a must-win scenario?
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- The Lakers are 10-4 ATS in Playoff games
- Los Angeles is 25-19 ATS when coming off of a loss
- The over has hit in 11 of 18 games that the Nuggets have played in as an away underdog
Simply put, the Lakers are not going down 0-3 here. I believe the Nuggets are a tremendous team and are clearly in the drivers seat to take this series to advance to the NBA Finals, but this game is do-or-die for the Lakers. Expect James and AD to be in attack mode from the jump en route to a pivotal win to get one step closer to evening the series up before heading back to Denver for Game 5.
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