LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 08: Los Angeles Lakers Forward LeBron James (23) drives to the basket against Los Angeles Clippers Center Montrezl Harrell (5) during an NBA match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 8, 2020 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller / Icon Sportswire)
- The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets meet for the second time this season on February 14th
- LeBron James led the Lakers to a comfortable win just 10 days ago
- Get the latest NBA odds, bet preview and select below
The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets matchup is on February 14, 2021. This is the second time these two have gone out of the 2020-21 regular season, following the Lakers ’all-time win back on February 4th. Denver have gone 2-2 from that loss, but won their last two. The Lakers are on a seven-game winning streak as they follow the Utah Jazz at the top of the Western Conference.
Denver is likely to be without Gary Harris (hip) once again. The Lakers should be at full strength after Anthony Davis (Achilles) returned for Friday’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Odds
|Team||Share||Moneyline||Total points at FanDuel|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-2.5 (-110)||-142||Ov 215 (-110)|
|Denver Nuggets||+2.5 (-110)||+120||A 215 (-110)|
Odds taken on Feb. 13 from FanDuel
The Lakers have the most unusual streaks to win. Per Samuel Quinn, the Lakers are -41 in their last five first quarters. They are used to starting games slowly, even against opponents with a huge talent setback. This happened again on Friday, and the Grizzlies maintained a two-digit lead at half-time, but it wasn’t enough.
The Lakers are -41 in their first five quarters.
They have won all five games.
– Samuel H. Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) February 13, 2021
The Lakers have shown the ability to turn the tide. It was the third quarter on Friday. At other times, it took them a while to turn up. Their defense remains very comfortable in the NBA so far this season – they have locked up offenses again.
This move was evident in the previous Los Angeles game with Denver. The Nuggets led by 12 at a time. The Lakers outscored them by 20 in the third quarter, and LeBron James added a second-half 14-point, eight-pointer with no turnovers.
Lakers points allowed in second half through this successful streak:
– 46 (Boston)
– 53 (Atlanta)
– 35 (Denver)
– 52 (Detroit)
– 50 (OKC)
– 38 (OKC)
– 46 (Memphis)
They never reached 53 points. Only three teams (Lakers, Knicks, Jazz) allow an average of 53 points per half.
– Samuel H. Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) February 13, 2021
As good as this Lakers team is, they can’t afford to keep up providing the first half leads to good teams. It’s one thing to turn down deficits against the Thunder or Pistons, but fighting back against those Nuggets is a lot harder.
Nuggets protection improves
Inconsistency has put the Nuggets so far in 2020-21. In general, however, they are moving in the right direction. Much of that is due to the development of immunity after a very bad start. Denver is 11th in defensive rankings in February. Pair that with the fifth-best offensive line in the NBA, and that’s a scary face.
Defending LeBron James is the biggest concern of every team. Denver lost Jerami Grant on time, and there is a hole in their defense as a result. James was able to take over completely when those teams last met, and he comes off another superb work against Memphis. The four-time MVP was +28 in the second half, finishing with 28 points, nine boards and eight discounts at 60% off the field.
While the Nuggets have improved their defense, they are still dead last in percentage of field goals against the edge. They sit 26th percent of field goal attempts against from the corners. Getting to the edge and creating three open corners is something special.
Michael Malone walks a slope in those matchups. Finding enough offense to score on this Lakers defense while having enough defense to stay in the game is an inaccessible balancing act for Malone with this roster. Michael Porter Jr. played under 20 minutes when the last two met – will he score enough to earn more minutes on Sunday?
The Lakers focus will be challenged
It’s impossible to forget how the Lakers blocked the Nuggets in the second half of their game earlier this month. Suddenly Denver’s brilliant offense was incapable of firing. The defense was broken by James.
– Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 13, 2021
Since then, however, the Lakers have played ugly basketball. The results have still been good, but another ultra-slow start and could be in trouble Sunday. The ability to lock in on defense is incredible, but that won’t always be enough to get you back into the game against a crime as talented as Denver.
The Nuggets are going to be a good bet on the currency here. They are sixth in net rankings over their last 10 games, and have received a reasonable offensive result from their career players over the last few games. Repeat that on Sunday and they are well placed to capture the reigning champions.
Select: Moneyline Nuggets
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who spent several years immersed in the online gaming industry. It has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.