Thanks to the Clippers somehow putting up a -46.1 net rating over the last three second halves, we won’t get the anticipated battle for L.A. Instead, we get the 3-1 slayer Nuggets against the former 3-1 king LeBron James. Matchup wise, we’re getting some clashing styles on the offensive ends, so there’s a lot of pressure on coaches to put their guys in a good position, especially coach Mike Malone.
Drew Dinkmeyer, Andrew Wiggins and I did a pod on the upcoming series on Thursday, so definitely check that out.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-7), 9:00 pm ET
Team Totals: Nuggets 102.5, Lakers 109.5
Injury News: Will Barton and Vlatko Cancar remain out, LeBron James is probable as usual, Rajon Rondo (back) is questionable and Dion Waiters is doubtful.
Nuggets Expected Starters: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic
Lakers Expected Starters: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee (noted below why McGee should start)
Season Series: Lakers 3-1 (3-0 in games LeBron played)
Player Absences: LeBron James (1 game missed), KCP (1), Rajon Rondo (1), Gary Harris (1), Torrey Craig (1)
Playoff Offensive Rating: Nuggets 5th, Lakers 2nd
Playoff Defensive Rating: Nuggets 11th, Lakers 3rd
Season Defensive Rating: Nuggets 16th, Lakers 3rd
Season Pace: Nuggets 29th, Lakers 11th
Malone Quotes: Malone hasn’t had pre-series availability yet, so nothing really new here. I’ll try to add some on Friday.
Vogel Quotes: He suggested he expects to go back to the big lineup to start as the Lakers “return to form.” He said his offensive and defensive systems have changed “dramatically” from his Indiana days with more treys and smaller lineups.