The Los Angeles Lakers were on a ten-game winning streak until their most recent game. In that game, the Lakers were absolutely buried by the Dallas Mavericks, 114-100, as the team looked slow and lost at most times on both ends of the floor. Luka Doncic came in, near the top of the early season MVP race, and dropped 27 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds.
Tonight, the Lakers will face the Denver Nuggets, who come into the matchup right behind the first-place Lakers in the Western Conference standings, at 13-4. It’ll be the second straight matchup for the Lakers against a team who has a good chance of being in the Western Conference playoffs this year, with the Lakers set to face another playoff contender the day after this game, against the Utah Jazz.
Because of this current part of the schedule that will be debilitating compared to their previous cake-walk of a schedule, the Lakers will need to quickly turn the page on their first truly disappointing loss of the season. The Nuggets will also be looking to avoid back-to-back losses, however, following their 100-97 OT loss against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
This matchup between the Lakers and Nuggets might be even lower scoring than 100-97, as the Nuggets currently boast the best Defensive Rating in the NBA, with the Lakers currently at 5th. Hopefully, the Lakers’ defense will be able to outplay the Nuggets’ defense, as the Nuggets’ Offensive Rating is 18th in the league, with the Lakers’ at 6th in the league.
Looking at the Nuggets statistics, it’s not hard to figure out why the team’s offense is lacking. Just take a look at their superstar, Nikola Jokic. The big man is currently averaging 15.6 points per game, far below his average in the 2018-19 season of 20.1 points per game. In addition, the best passing big man in the game is averaging fewer assists, currently averaging 6.0 assists per game compared to last year’s 7.3. Jamal Murray is putting up similar numbers to last year, but just take a look at the two team’s superstars compared to each other.
Hopefully, the Lakers combined star power will be enough to help them power past the Nuggets stiff defense, as the team won’t want to have a sad, fast plane ride to Utah right after.
The game tips off Tuesday, at 6:00 p.m. PST.