Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Preview and Pick

L.A. Lakers +4 at Denver Nuggets -4 O/U 209 PM Saturday May 25, 2009 on ESPN
By Jason Green at Predictem.com

The Lakers lead the Nuggets in this best of 7 series 2-1.

Tonight in game 4 of the Western Conference Finals the L.A. Lakers are in Denver to play the Nuggets. The Lakers took back home court advantage in this series with a hard fought win in game 3. The Lakers made a furious comeback in that game outscoring the Nuggets 32-18 to win by 6 points. Kobe Bryant had a huge game and Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza helped him out on the scoring department going for 20 points and 16 points respectively. The Lakers clamped down on D, as the Nuggets shot juts over 39% from the field.

Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups could not shoot the pill in game 3 and if they do not play better tonight they will be in a 3-1 home heading back to La La Land. The Nuggets were especially cold from 3-pt land only shooting 5/27 beyond the arc for a 3-pt FG% of 18.5%. It is very rare when a team comes back from a 3-1 deficit so the Nuggets really need to win this game to make this a series.

Hoops bookies have the Nuggets as 4-point favorites with a total around 209. The Nuggets are posted at -200 as home favorites and the Lakers are posted at +170 as away dogs.

The Lakers won game 3 on Saturday night 103-97 to take a 2-1 lead in this series. Yeah, the high scorer for the Lakers in that game was Kobe going for 41 points on 12/24 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 33/72 from the floor for a FG% of 45.8%. The high scorer for the Nuggets in game 3 was Carmelo Anthony going for 21 points on 4/13 from the floor. For the game the Nuggets shot 33/84 for a weak FG% of 39.3%.

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 3 the Nuggets lost their first game at home in this season’s playoffs.

The scorers of the Nuggets were throwing up bricks in game 3, as Chauncey Billups, Melo, and 6th man J.R. Smith shot a combined 13/43 from the floor including a combined 5/24 from downtown. If these 3 shoot like that again tonight they will lose this game.

Launching 3-point bombs is not the way to protect a lead and the Nuggets learned that the hard way in game 3.

Pau Gasol stepped up and was the difference maker in this game, as we scored 20 points and grabbed 11 boards.

The Lakers won game 3 even though they only shot 31/45 from the free throw line for FT FG% of 68.9%. Kobe was legit from the charity stripe going 15/17, but the other Lakers were throwing up bricks. The Lakers need to shoot better tonight from the free throw line, especially if it is a close game.

Derek Fisher struggled again in game 3 only scoring 4 points on 2/6 shooting. He has to shoot better tonight in order to open up the floor for the Lakers.

Kenyon Martin and Nene have to give the Nuggets more inside offense, as in game 3 they combined for 19 points on 8/19 shooting. Martin struggled with his shot, big time, only shooting 3/10 and he needs to play better tonight.

The Nuggets lost for the first time in 75 days at home in game 3 and their stars stunk up the court. If Melo and Anthony do not step it up tonight the Nuggets may be done in this series.

Jason’s Pick: I figure Denver will come out with their best effort and win and cover.