2020 NBA Playoffs: Lakers vs. Nuggets Game 4 odds, pick & prediction
The Denver Nuggets found themselves in a must-win situation on Tuesday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, and they absolutely delivered. After losing a buzzer-beater in Game 2 on Anthony Davis’ first, and only made three of the series, the Nuggets showed the resolve they’ve displayed throughout the playoffs when their backs are against the wall and landed a solid win, defeating the Lakers 114-106.
Now it's time to look forward to Game 4 on Thursday night. BetAmerica has you covered with odds and a pick for tonight's eagerly anticipated showdown between the Lakers and Nuggets.
Fri, September 25 2020, 1:05 AM
Lakers ran out of gas at end of Game 3
In Game 3, the Nuggets led by as many as 20 points before giving up a few different runs to the Lakers that made things close. Fortunately for the Nuggets, however, the extreme energy exerted by the Lakers in making those runs had them exhausted for the game’s final critical minutes.
Sitting on a 99-83 game with 9:25 to go, the game appeared all but over. Instead the Nuggets got lazy with the basketball and the score was 101-98, ball in LeBron James’ hands, and four full minutes left on the clock. Exhaustion was evident though, as Anthony Davis quite literally walked up the court and LeBron took a bad three. The Lakers never got any closer as the Nuggets pulled away late, and that possession felt like a roller coaster getting all the way to the top of the climb before slowly falling back down.
It’s important to note that the Nuggets were able to exhaust the Lakers not just by forcing them to play catch-up in the fourth quarter, but by playing with more urgency throughout the first half as well. After being the second slowest paced team in the NBA for the playoffs (94.8 possessions per game), they sped things up a full three possessions per game in Game 3. The Nuggets, blessed with depth and multiple offensive threats, will need to continue that in Game 4.
Lakers were outworked on the glass
The Lakers are 6-point favorites in Game 4, and I have no desire to lay that many points against a team that seems to play best when they need to. Jamal Murray has been consistently excellent, putting up 28-8-12 in Game 3 and being a +8 on the court following his +14 performance in Game 2.
Nikola Jokic went 22-10-5, and between him and Paul Millsap, showed more toughness on the defensive side securing rebounds and keeping Davis off the rim. Lakers big men Davis, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard managed only four rebounds total (and only one offensive board) in 65 total minutes of play. Davis only getting two of those in his 43 minutes is head-shaking.
Denver's role players have stepped up
Nuggets role players Jerami Grant, Monte Morris, and Michael Porter Jr. are thriving off the confident leadership of Murray and Jokic. Both Grant and Morris posted career highs in playoff point totals, and while it’s perfectly reasonable to expect regression from each of them, those points could just as easily come from Gary Harris, Millsap, or Jokic in the diverse Nuggets attack. Jokic’s vision and Murray’s constant pressure opens up good opportunities for the rest of the roster.
In a series that could just as easily be 2-1 Nuggets, I’ll take the consistently underrated Nuggets (11-5-1 ATS in the playoffs) to once again cover in Game 4.