LA LAKERS at DENVER NUGGETS
Line: Denver -4.5 / 227.5
Tuesday is opening night in the NBA, and we have a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals as the Lakers travel to take on the Nuggets. LA will watch Denver raise their first banner in their 56-year history and you can be positive they will not like what they see.
Even though the Western Conference Finals ended in a sweep, it was probably the most competitive sweep in league history. It could have easily been tied at 2 after four games but the better team made more plays down the stretch and that team was Denver.
With the additions LA has made this off season, we feel they can rival Denver for the top spot in the West this season. The addition of Christian Wood was great for the Lakers because this will enable Anthony Davis to play less inside where his body gets beat up. The length of the Lakers will also be a problem because now they can be more physical inside which will allow them to force teams into perimeter shots where their defense is much improved.
We know what Lebron James will give us, and the improvement made by Austin Reaves has been tremendous. Russel played poorly in the playoffs for the Lakers, but his metrics are generally above average, and he does average 18 points per game along with 6 assists. Technically he is the 4th wheel for the Lakers and that will pose a threat for many teams.
In regards to this game, we feel the Nuggets will get off to a strong start with the emotion in the building but as the game goes along, the depth the Lakers have will begin to pay dividends. The Nuggets starting 5 is the same from last year and make no mistake about it, it is exceptional. But, their depth has taken a little bit of a hit with the loss of Bruce Brown and we feel this is where the Lakers will exploit the defending champs.
This is the 2nd year in a row the Lakers will watch a team raise their championship banner. They lost last year to Golden State, but we feel they will come out with a victory on Tuesday. We are going to take the Lakers +4.5 but expect a very close game with Los Angeles pulling it out late in the game.