May 4, 2012 at 10:30 PM EST- ESPN2
NBA Betting Odds from BetDSI
NBA Pointspread: Nuggets -4
The Nuggets return home trailing 2-0 against the Los Angeles Lakers in this best-of-seven series. George Karl and his team know they absolutely must win this game if they are going to have a legitimate chance in this series. The Lakers were just 15-18 away from home during the regular season. Expect the Nuggets to leave it all on the floor Friday night in this matchup.
Los Angeles dominated the first two games of this series. The Lakers nearly lost their big lead in the fourth quarter of Game Two, but overall they controlled both games at Staples Center. The Lakers have a major advantage in the frontcourt in this series. Andrew Bynum has been spectacular in the first two games. Bynum is averaging 18.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 blocks in this series. Pau Gasol hasn’t really gotten on track yet, but Jordan Hill has given the team a big boost off the bench. Hill has grabbed ten boards in each of the first two games.
Kobe Bryant has turned it up a notch once the playoffs got going. Bryant scored 31 points in Game One and 38 points in Game Two. Ramon Sessions was a nice pick up for the Lakers in the middle of the season, and he has scored 14 points in each of the first two games. Sessions takes some of the pressure off Bryant in the offensive sets.
Denver saw in Game One that allowing the Lakers to set their defense in the half court is a major problem. The Lakers blocked 15 shots in that game. The Nuggets did a better job of pushing the tempo and getting points in transition last game. Denver needs to continue to get down the floor as quickly as possible and try to get easy buckets. Ty Lawson is one of the best in the NBA at pushing the tempo. Lawson scored 25 points in Game Two, and he also dished out seven assists. If the Nuggets are going to win this game he’ll need to be very good once again.
Denver’s advantage in this series is in the backcourt, and the best way for them to take advantage of that is use their quickness at every opportunity. Andre Miller gives the team a second point guard, and the Nuggets need to get him and Arron Afflalo involved more in the offense moving forward. JaVale McGee is a youngster with plenty of talent, but he has struggled badly so far this series. He needs to hold his own down low.
The Lakers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 following an ATS loss. On the other hand, they are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as a playoff underdog.
The Nuggets are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss. They are also 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 as playoff game favorites.
The over is 11-3 in the Lakers last 14 road games.
Free NBA Pick: Over 204
The Nuggets should be pushing the pace in an even bigger way on their home court. Denver knows the only way they win this game is to turn it into a track meet.
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