With the Nuggets heading into Los Angeles to face the Lakers, we thought we it would be fitting to do something a little different for today’s game preview. Wardell and I have teamed up with @P_ACasas over at Lakers Lounge to bring you all a very special collaboration. You know us over at Real Ball Insiders, we like to keep things interesting!
Reasons that Wardell and I think that the Nuggets will come home with another W:
The stats speak for themselves. The Lakers definitely haven’t been playing up to par as of late. Right now, the Lakers are sitting 15-30 on their season and haven’t shown any signs of getting the ball rolling anytime soon. Sure, they have a win here and there, but ultimately they aren’t a team that the Nuggets should be lose against. Right now, the Lakers are averaging 104.3 ppg, 20.6 assists per game, 43.8 rebounds per game, and allow, on average, 110.2 ppt from their opponent. The Nuggets are averaging 108.8 ppg, 23.5 assists per game, 47.1 rebounds per game, and allow 111.2 from their opponent.
I really hate to be the guy that brings up intangibles, but you’ve got to admit…the Nuggets have been on fire as of late. They absolutely dismantled a very solid Indiana Pacers team in London last Thursday and that carried over a little in their dominant performance over the Orlando Magic on Monday. Yes, I realize that the Nuggets may very well enter this game fatigues, but it’s really hard to see their hot streak coming to an end anytime soon. Especially not to a team as cold as the Lakers are right now.
Nikola Jokic *drops mic*
In all seriousness though, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Nuggets will be going into this game with the best player on either team. He’s coming off what is perhaps the strongest two-game stretch of his career and over the previous ten games, he’s been averaging an astonishing 18 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game, and 5.4 assists per game (all while shooting just over 62% from the field). Also, his offensive points added vs. defensive points saved on the season is amongst the top-12 in the West. That technically would merit him an all-star appearance…so, yeah.
I don’t think I could’ve said it any better than Wardell did. Nikola Jokic is on absolute fire and there’s no signs of him slowing down anytime soon. Plain and simple, Nikola Jokic is the best player on either team in tonight’s matchup and alongside him is a pretty killer offense. We have the 5th best offense in the league right now (just behind Golden State, Houston, Toronto, and Cleveland), while the Lakers are a little closer to the middle of the league at 14th in offense. Both teams are struggling with defense with LA at 26th and Denver at 28th.
And Pedro’s thoughts?
I’m going to start this off by clarifying a statement made by Wardell, Jokic isn’t the best player on the floor tonight. Julius Randle averages more points and rebounds than Jokic. Plus, Randle is mobile enough to guard him on the perimeter and big enough to make him a permanent fixture in the hardwood if Jokic acts up. I’ll take Randle over him any time, any place. Don’t get me wrong, Jokic can ball but let’s be honest. Denver fans would make that trade straight up. Don’t be lying to yourself saying you wouldn’t.
Second, we can safely say that the Lakers made the right choice by drafting D’Angelo Russell instead of Emmanuel Mudiay, who still can’t shoot a jumper if his life depended on it. I always look for the Lakers to compete extra hard against teams with young fire power like they do. They always seem to play their hardest against those type of teams. I think Russell outplays Mudiay and leaves the whole world wondering what Dig In Denver’s own Derek was pondering, “is it time to move on from Mudiay?”
How can I say the Nuggets will win when their own faithful are contemplating such things? Sounds like the Nuggets have some soul searching to do. That special grass in Denver will be exactly what they need tonight after this game.
All in all, it’s a close game. The Lakers play to their potential and pull one out at home. That will give me bragging rights in the Real Ball Insiders office for a while.
As Pedro said, either he or Wardell and I will get the bragging rights for tonight’s game in the office so it’s up to the Nuggets not to let us down!
Nuggets keys to the game via @BonaFide_Scrub:
- Lakers rank 27th in opponent 1st quarter points allowing 28.2. Nuggets rank 28th allowing 28.9. Need to get off to a hot start.
- Lakers rank 28th in opposition fast break points per game allowing 15. Get out and run!
- Over the five game losing streak, the Nuggets averaged 26.8 assists per game. During the two game wining streak, they’re averaging 35. Keep sharing the ball!