- The Nuggets visit the slumping Lakers on Sunday afternoon
- LA has lost five straight
- Read on for the odds, preview, and betting prediction
The Los Angeles Lakers are hanging on for their play-in lives heading into the final week of the season and Sunday’s game against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets is important as ever. The tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 PM EST at Crypto.com Arena.
The Lakers are now 2-8 in their last 10 games and lost their fifth in a row on Friday in a brutal defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans, who are slightly above them in the play-in race. The Nuggets meanwhile, fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 136-130.
To make matters worse, Anthony Davis and LeBron James are both listed as questionable for this contest. But with their season hanging in the balance, the star duo will likely play.
Nuggets vs Lakers Odds
|Denver Nuggets||-3.5 (-110)||-156||OFF|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+3.5 (-110)||+132||OFF|
Odds as of April 2nd at FanDuel.
The Nuggets are actually quite poor as an ATS favorite, going just 21-27. The Lakers aren’t much better as an ATS underdog though, compiling a 16-18 record.
Denver Needs a Win
The Nuggets are barely holding onto the No. 6 seed in the West, sitting just two games above the Timberwolves. That being said, every single game is important for Michael Malone’s squad as the season winds down. They’re in a bit of a rhythm right now as well, winning three consecutive before Friday’s loss to Minnesota.
MVP candidate Nikola Jokic did everything humanly possible to grab a victory for his squad, but it wasn’t enough. The Serbian big man erupted for 38 points, 19 rebounds, and eight assists. However, Denver struggled to take care of the rock, committing 18 turnovers which the Wolves translated into 30 points. The Nuggets also shot just 34% from deep compared to a 48% clip for their opponents.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 3, 2022
The Nuggets’ rotation certainly did a decent job, with four others scoring in double-figures. But, two starters in Will Barton and Jeff Green combined for a mere 16 points, which didn’t help their case.
After destroying LA by 37 points in their last meeting, Denver will be carrying some confidence into Sunday’s matchup.
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Lakers in a Bad Spot
Things truly couldn’t be any grimmer for the Lakers. They’re now guaranteed to have their worst record in the LeBron era after Friday’s poor showing and at this point, the playoffs feel like a long shot. LA is trailing the Spurs by a full game for 10th place and Frank Vogel’s group has a very tough schedule to end the campaign.
After this game, the Lakers face the Suns, Warriors, Thunder, and Nuggets again. The only manageable contest is against OKC but that’s not even a guaranteed win. The King continues to do everything he can to get his team into the postseason, dropping 38 points vs. New Orleans after missing a pair of games with an ankle injury. AD also made his return to the lineup and contributed 23 points and 12 boards, but Russell Westbrook struggled alongside his star teammates, scoring just 12 points.
AD, LeBron and Lakers believe they can go 5-0 to finish the season. (via @michaeljduarte)
Lakers only have a 11% chance to make the play-in, according to ESPN. pic.twitter.com/kbGjPHWYNi
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 2, 2022
Los Angeles had a stranglehold but allowed the Pelicans to claw their way back in the fourth quarter, with Jonas Valanciunas hitting a game-tying triple with just under three minutes left. NOLA eventually went ahead and James had the chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but he missed it. From this point on, the Lakers essentially need to win every single contest. Problem is, LeBron is clearly battling ankle discomfort and David just came back.
Nuggets vs Lakers Prediction
It really doesn’t matter if Bron balls out for 40+ points, the Lakers can’t play defense. Betting on them is probably the worst thing you can do when they’re in such bad shape. Believe in Jokic to lead the Nuggets to a win and officially crush LA’s play-in/playoff aspirations.
Pick: Nuggets -3.5 (-110)
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