The daily NBA preview takes it to the rim with tips for a Western Conference blockbuster between the Denver Nuggets and LA Lakers.
14:00 (AEDT), Thu 13th Feb @ Pepsi Center, Denver
History: Played 205: Lakers 127 V Nuggets 78
Last meeting: December 22, 2019: Nuggets 128 d Lakers 104 at Staples Center
Final Thoughts: The LA Lakers confront one of their biggest threats in the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets, for the third time this season.
Both heavyweights have picked up an away win over the other in this campaign.
Anthony Davis (25 pts, 10 reb) and LeBron James (25 pts, 6 reb, 9 ast) spearheaded a 105-96 Lakers victory in Denver in early-December.
But a LeBron-less Lakers was no match for the Nuggets at home, swamped 128-104 three weeks later. Four of the Nuggets’ starting five racked up 14-plus points, while Gary Harris (19 pts, 5 ast, 4 stl) was a standout.
Davis is in some doubt but has been listed as probable for the trip to Denver. The Nuggets are without starting forward Will Barton for the fourth straight game and Michael Porter Jr remains sidelined.
Lakers, Nuggets charging towards top-two finish
The 40-12 Lakers still hold a handy lead at the top of the West. The 38-16 Nuggets sit second.
The Lakers have won four of their five games in February, bouncing back from a home loss to Houston with wins at Golden State (125-120) and at home to Phoenix (125-100). Davis top-scored in both, while James had a combined 20 assists.
The Nuggets are on a four-game winning streak. They bookended back-to-back road wins over the Jazz and Suns with home victories against the Trail Blazers and Spurs.
Denver are an imposing 21-6 at home, winning their last four. The Lakes are an outstanding 22-5 on the road and have won eight of their last 10 away.
Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets are one of the few line-ups that can genuinely unsettle the Lakers. But the dominant forward duo of LBJ and AD should carry the Lakers over the line against the under-strength hosts.
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