Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 5 Preview and Pick

Denver Nuggets +6 at L.A. Lakers -6 O/U 209.5 9 PM ET Tuesday May 19, 2009 on ESPN
By Jason Green at

This best of 7 series is tied at 2 games apiece.

Tonight in an all-important game 5 in the Western Conference Finals the Denver Nuggets are in Tinsel Town to play the L.A. Lakers. The Nuggets were impressive in their 19 point win in game 4 and head to LA with a lot of confidence.

Pau Gasol went off after game 4 about his lack of touches and you know he must be pissed if the gentle Spaniard speaks up. He has a point, as he has only taken 40 shots in the series, but he has shot 62% from the floor. In game 4 Gasol scored 21 points on 8/11 shooting, but he did not get many touches in the 4th quarter and he only took 4 free throws in the final period. He needs to get more involved in the offense tonight and if he does the Lakers will be tough to beat.

Kobe Bryant was the high scorer in game 4 with 34 points, but he only shot 10/26 from the floor and only buried 2 of his 10 3-pointers. The Lakers need to get Gasol the rock tonight and shoot better (41.5% from the floor in game 4) or they may be heading back to Denver down 3-2 in this series.

Hoops bookies have the Lakers as 6-point favorites with a total around 215. The Lakers are posted at -240 as home favorites in this game and the Nuggets are posted at +190 as road dogs.

The Nuggets schooled the Lakers in game 4 in Denver beating them 120-101 on Monday night. The high scorer for the Nuggets in game 4 was Chauncey Billups going for 24 points on 7/16 shooting. For the game the Nuggets shot 38/86 for a FG% of 44.2%. The high scorer for the Lakers in game 4 was Kobe Bryant with 34 points on 10/26 shooting. For the game the Lakers did not shoot well going 34/82 from the floor for a FG% of 41.5%.

This season the ranked 3rd in scoring (106.7 ppg) and the Nuggets ranked 6th (104.3 ppg). On D the Nuggets allowed 100.9 ppg and the Lakers gave up an average of 99.1 ppg. This season the Nuggets had a rebounding differential of +1.4 and the Lakers were at +2.6.

This season the Lakers were 42-39-1 ATS and the Nuggets were 45-35-2. In terms of Over/Under games the Lakers were 41-39-1 this season and the Nuggets were 42-39-1.

On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.

In game 4 the Nuggets played a great team game, as each starter scored in double figures. It is a good thing all the Nuggets were scoring, as Carmelo Anthony struggled, big time, only scoring 15 points on 3/16 shooting.

J.R. Smith was awesome coming off the bench to score 24 points on 9/17 shooting.

The Lakers need to do a better job on the glass, as in game 4 The Lakers’ frontcourt of Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum were totally dominated by the Nuggets’ frontcourt of Nene, Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen, out-rebounding them 42-25. The Lakers also need to keep the Nuggets off the offensive boards, as they allowed Denver to grab 20 offensive boards, which led to many 2nd chance opportunities.

Lamar Odom needs to get involved on the offensive end and hit his shots, as in game 4 he played 30 minutes and was only 1/8 from the floor only scoring 5 points.

Besides feeding the ball to Gasol more the Lakers should also feed Andrew Bynum tonight, as he had a solid game 4 scoring 14 points on 6/7 shooting.

Even though the Nuggets won game 4 they have to shoot better from downtown tonight, as in game 4 the duo combined to go 1/9 from 3-point land.

The momentum has shifted several times in this series and now the Nuggets have it, which should mean that the Lakers should win tonight, as that is how the series has gone so far.

The Lakers may have learned their lesson in game 4, as Gasol may have a big game tonight, which will take off some pressure off Kobe.

Jason’s Pick: I like the UNDER 209!