The NBA Conference Finals kick off on Tuesday night again after taking a day off on Monday. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets will meet in Game 3 of their series as both teams look for a big win. These two teams have played two great games so far, which should lead to another good matchup on September 22. This game will tip off at around 9:00 PM Eastern time on TNT.
Los Angeles finished out the regular season with a record of 52-19, which had them in first place of the Western Conference. The Lakers then went on to knock off the Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets in five games. Now Los Angeles holds a solid 2-0 series lead on Denver, which they will look to extend with a win on Tuesday night.
The Nuggets have earned a record of 46-27 throughout the regular season, which put them in third place of the Western Conference. Denver faced the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers in the first two rounds. The Nuggets were down 3-1 in both series, but found a way to come back to win both in seven games. Now Denver needs to find some gas left in the tank to comeback on the Lakers.
These two teams have battled their way to the Western Conference Finals, but the Nuggets find themselves in a tough 2-0 series hole. Denver needs a big win on Tuesday night as they try and avoid a 3-0 series deficit. I expect the Nuggets to come out fast as they try and control the pace of this one. Look for the Lakers to keep playing their game though, which has dominated Denver so far.
Los Angeles and Denver met up three times throughout the regular season before it came to a pause. The Nuggets hosted the first game, which was a tough 105-96 loss for them. The second game shifted to Los Angeles, where the Nuggets won 128-104. The third game was back in Denver, where the Lakers won 120-116 in overtime.
The Nuggets and the Lakers met up one last time during the regular season in the bubble seeding games. P.J. Dozier led Denver’s bench with 18 points, as the bench combined for 61 points. It was not enough though as LeBron James dropped 29 points and 12 assists, while Anthony Davis scored 27 points. Kyle Kuzma put up another 25 points as the Lakers won 124-121.
Game 1 of this series was back on September 18. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic both scored 21 points for the Nuggets, but it was not enough. Anthony Davis dominated, dropping 37 points and 10 rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18, while LeBron James dropped 15 points and 12 assists. Los Angeles was able to cruise to a 1-0 series lead with a 126-114 win.
The second game of this series was back on September 20. Nikola Jokic dropped 30 points and 9 assists, while Jamal Murray scored 25 points. It still was not enough for the Nuggets though. Anthony Davis scored 31 points for Los Angeles. LeBron James added another 26 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers took a 2-0 series lead with a 105-103 win.
Field Goal Shooting
The Lakers have been the best field goal shooting team throughout the entire postseason. Los Angeles has made 49.5 percent of their shots from the field. The Lakers have also made 36.3 percent of their shots from deep, which is not quite as great. In this series, Los Angeles has shot 48.8 percent from the field and 38.7 from behind the arc.
Denver has also found a lot of success shooting throughout their playoff run. The Nuggets have made around 46.8 percent of their shots from the field in the postseason. Denver also has the best three point percentage of any remaining playoff team at 38.6 percent. Against the Lakers in this series, the Nuggets have made 48.4 percent of their shots from the field and 34 percent of their shots from deep.
These two teams have put up really solid shooting percentages throughout this playoff run. The Lakers have been the better team from the field, while Denver’s shooting from deep has been really strong. Los Angeles has been the better team shooting throughout this series, but I expect the Nuggets to make more adjustments, especially when guarding the perimeter.
Los Angeles has seen strong performances from their big two in Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Davis is averaging 28.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. James has averaged 25.5 points, 10 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. Kyle Kuzma is averaging 11 points per game off the bench, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has averaged 10 points per game.
The Nuggets have also seen a lot of production from their big two in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Murray is averaging 26.5 points and 6 assists per game. Jokic has averaged 25.5 points and 10 rebounds per game throughout the postseason. Michael Porter Jr. is averaging 11.5 points and 7 rebounds per game, while Jerami Grant has averaged 10 points per game.
These two teams have seen their top two players step up throughout this postseason run. Davis and James have been the better duo in this series though. The Nuggets need their depth players to do some more in this series. Gary Harris and Paul Millsap are both struggling and need to step up in this series if Denver is going to come back.
The Lakers have put up an impressive 2-0 series lead, but I believe that Denver will bounce back with a win on Tuesday night. Los Angeles snuck out with a tight win in Game 2 of this series, but I think the Nuggets will bounce back from that. If Denver’s defense can step up on the perimeter, I believe it will help them earn a big win in Game 2.
BetOnline has Los Angeles listed as a -265 against the money line. This implies that the Lakers will win this game around 72.6 percent of the time. I believe that this line should be much less. The Nuggets are down 2-0 in the series, but have been resilient all playoffs long. I expect Denver to bounce back on Tuesday night as they close the gap in this series.