The Lakers started their recent three-game road trip with impressive wins in Atlanta and Houston, before having 140 dropped on them in a 140-106 loss to the Mavericks in Dallas.
Projected Starting Lineups
G Ty Lawson – 16.2 ppg, 9.1 apg
G Arron Afflalo – 13.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
F Wilson Chandler – 12.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
F Kenneth Faried– 11.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg
C Timofey Mozgov – 8.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Los Angeles Lakers
G Jeremy Lin – 11.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
G Kobe Bryant – 26.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.2 apg
F Wesley Johnson – 7.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg
F Carlos Boozer – 13.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg
C Jordan Hill – 14.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg
What To Watch For:
The Nuggets' offense is finding its stride
The Los Angeles Lakers will have their hands full with a Denver Nuggets squad scoring 110.0 points per game during its past three games. The Nuggets also dropped 127.3 points per game on the Lakers in sweeping last year's three-game set, so Los Angeles desperately needs to find some sort of defensive cohesion on Sunday to slow down a Nuggets offense that has pulled Denver out of an early-season 2-7 hole.
Is Kobe ready to step back a bit?
Bryant has a rough shooting night against the Mavs, missing his first eight shots and going 6-for-22 from the field altogether. The rest of his Lakers teammates shot sixty percent, and likely would have benefited from a few more looks their way. If Los Angeles can strike some balance between Kobe's iso tendencies and the rest of the team's offensive strengths, they have a chance to win this game.
Prediction: Nuggets win 121-114
Expect a shootout. This is a winnable game for the Los Angeles Lakers, but recent questions about certain players' effort level by head coach Byron Scott makes this a hard game to call in their favor. Add in a Denver Nuggets squad hellbent on proving its early-season doubters foolish, and the Nuggets seemingly have the advantage going into this one.