L.A. Lakers +5 at Denver Nuggets -5 O/U 209 9 PM Friday May 29, 2009 on ESPN
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
The Lakers lead this best of 7 series 3-2.
Tonight the Denver Nuggets host the L.A. Lakers in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets must win this game tonight or they will be heading home, well they already are home but they will be watching the playoffs from home if ya catch my drift.
The Lakers won game 5, as they spread the offense around and Kobe did not have to have a huge scoring night, as he only scored 22 points and the Lakers still won by 9 points. The big difference in game 5 was Lamar Odom, who was HUGE going for 19 points and grabbing 14 boards off the bench. Pau Gasol was also solid in game 5 going for 14 points and grabbing 10 boards. If the Lakers can spread around their offense tonight like they did in game 5 they will be very tough to beat.
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Denver 6th man J.R. Smith has been legit in this series and all season long as another scoring option for the Nuggets, but in game 5 he struggled only scoring 7 points on 3/13 shooting including only shooting 1/10 from beyond the 3-pt line. The Nuggets simply have to shoot the rock better tonight, as in game 5 they only shot 38.6% from the floor.
Basketball bookies have the Nuggets as 5-point favorites in this game with a total around 209. The Lakers are posted at +170 as away dogs in this game and the Nuggets are posted at -200 as home favorites.
The Lakers won game 5 103-94 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for the Lakers was Kobe Bryant going for 22 points on 6/13 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 37/76 from the floor for a FG% of 48.7%. The high scorer for the Nuggets in game 5 was Carmelo Anthony going for 31 points on 9/23 shooting. For the game the Nuggets were cold only shooting 32/83 for a FG% of 38.6%.
This season the Lakers 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 issues.
Melo and J.R. Smith have to shoot better from downtown and open up the inside for their frontcourt. In game 5 those two combined to shoot 2/14 from 3-pt land.
Even though the Lakers won game 5 they also have to shoot the 3 better, as in game 5 they only had a 3-pt FG% of 18.8%.
Chauncey Billups is one of the main reasons that the Nuggets are in the Western Conference Finals, but he has to get more involved in the offense tonight. In game 5 Billups only took 7 shots and only scored 12 points. How he goes the Nuggets go and he has to have a decent scoring game for the Nuggets to win.
Kenyon Martin was more involved in the offense in game 5 going for 12 points on 6/15 shooting, but he has to get more physical and not settle for jumpers. In game 5 Martin did not attempt one free throw.
Gasol and Odom combined for 9 blocks and 24 rebounds in game 5 and if they play D like that tonight and the Nuggets are cold shooting the rock again this series is over, as the Nuggets will lose.
Once again the momentum has shifted in this series and the Lakers now have it. However, that should mean that the Nuggets should win this game.
The Nuggets have to play better D on Odom and Gasol and shoot better tonight in order to force a game 7 in LA on Sunday.
Jason’s Pick: I expect Denver to come out with their best effort tonight for a win and cover. It won’t come easy though.