Here we go! Lakers Nuggets Game 4.
The Denver Nuggets knew that while they demonstrated the ability to come back from a large deficit, banking on doing that over and over and over again was not going to be a good strategy to get to the NBA Finals. And to come back from 3-0 was going to be damn near impossible.
That’s why it was so critical that they not let Game 3 of the Western Conference finals get away from them. And they didn’t, beating the Los Angeles Lakers and making a series of it. BetAnySports customers need to take a close look at that result and consider that the Nuggets could conceivably be a game ahead in this best-of-seven.
In fact, if that is the way you feel, you may take a long look at the series price that is currently posted. Going into Game 4, slated for 9 PM ET on Thursday, the Lakers are bloated -1250 favorites at top online sportsbooks, with Denver at +800.
Of course, after roaring back from 3-1 deficits against both Utah and the L.A. Clippers, it’s hard to write this team off. And we say even with the realization that they don’t necessarily match up as well against the Lakers as they did against their previous two foes.
Should we explain that?
Well, the Nuggets saw that the growing trend in the NBA was to go “smaller” with lineups, so they went bigger. And they could do it, too, because they had the big people to do it with, including perhaps the most versatile center in the game. Nikola Jokic can play inside or go outside to shoot jump shots, and he is a playmaker. He led the team in assists this season, in fact. Denver can be “big” if it wants to, all across the front line.
But the Lakers have depth, in terms of its size. Think about it; the Lakers could have Anthony Davis at center, or at power forward alongside JaVale McGee. They bring a three-time Defensive Player of the Year (Dwight Howard) off the bench. They can guard the rim, and they also get points in the paint, as you’ll read about in a minute.
Here are the numbers…..
In the NBA playoff betting odds poste don this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Lakers are favored:
Los Angeles Lakers -6
Denver Nuggets +6
Over 214.5 points -110
Under 214.5 points -110
Lakers need a little “long-ball”
Listen – there is no question that the Lakers have outside shooters, like Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma. But they are operating best when they are operating on the inside, and/or attacking the rim. Naturally, with LeBron James, they can attack the rim.
But it’s not as if they can get by with nothing from three-point range. That was the situation they were left with in Game 3, as they went a putrid 6-of-28 (21.4%) from beyond the arc, even as they were hitting 65% from two-point range and tallying 64 points in the paint.
Nuggets hit the glass
Here’s the thing – Denver hit just above 65% from inside the arc, and the battle of the boards was no contest. Denver had the 44-25 edge, and Davis had just TWO rebounds. NBA betting odds for Lakers Nuggets Game 4 represent these stats.
Denver didn’t exactly cheat any of its big people out of playing time, but still, McGee and Howard only got 22 combined minutes of action. Lakers coach Frank Vogel had indicated that he was going to make liberal use of those two in this series.
So what do the Lakers need?
They need to stretch the Denver defense, for one thing. And maybe they need to put Howard and McGee on the court more. Doc Rivers has taken criticism, both publicly and privately, for not going bigger against Jokic.
There’s been some discussion about the Nuggets needing to find scoring outlets in addition to the spectacular Jokic-Jamal Murray duo. They got some of that in Game 3, with 26 points out of Jerami Grant and 14 off the bench from Monte Morris.
And the bottom line is…..
We could actually incorporate all the stats and analytics we want. What might be the operative factor here is that the Nuggets have all the confidence in the world. They could have been crushed over losing Game 2 with that buzzer-beating triple by Anthony Davis, but the way they look at it, they feel they are the better team because they should be up 2-1 in the series. It’s what enabled them to beat back a huge 19-2 run by the Lakers that made things competitive in the fourth quarter Tuesday night.
So while LeBron James seems overly concerned with how many MVP votes he’s gotten, or paying the fines of convicted felons so they can vote for his candidate, Nikola Jokic, more deserving of the MVP but a recipient of neither a first nor second place vote (without cry-babying, as far as we’re aware) will lead his team to a covering effort. And we’re on the “over” as well in Lakers Nuggets Game 4. Even with the lack of three-point production (the Nuggets were just 11-29), they went over the total in Game 3. They’ve combined to shoot 50% overall.
By Charles Jay
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